The fourth edition of our free consultation came up on the 17th and 18th of August, 2018. It was a groundbreaking record as parents with their wards turned up massively which resulted to a mammoth crowd.
The programme came about as a result of enquires from the huge number of families with children living with disabilities that cannot afford services to help their children live more fulfilling lives. Consequently, people approach our Centre daily for help. We concluded that the best way to help is to give the parents the skills that they can use in the home environment to support their child. The next step was to get the families together.
It was aired on radio stations, and social media was not left out as part of our efforts to bring this laudable programme to all and sundry.
Expectedly, people began to arrive as early as 6 am for a program billed for 9 am. They came from places as far as Badagry, Ondo, Ibadan, Ijebu- Ode, Akure, Abeokuta as well as the inclusive schools. The response was overwhelming.
Staff were on ground to get the venue ready, and to receive the participants who were already too eager to be attended to. Consultants and volunteers also came in one after the other and started work immediately.
Notably, Emina Cerimovic a Human Right Watch Official flew in all the way from the New York City. Others came from the United Kingdom and other parts of Lagos to lend their support to this laudable programme.
The first port of call was the registration stand, where we had as many as eight to ten staff in charge of registration. Then the participants and their children began the day with the staff asking preliminary questions about their children to know which one of the consultants they needed to see. These ranged from Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, Behavioural, Counseling, Pediatrician, Educational Diagnostics, Audiologist, Nutritionist, Psychologist, and the Psychiatrist.
On the first day, there was a large crowd of about 200 people, and 50 were turned back at the gate due to time constraints, that is, there would not have been enough time to see them one on one since they came late. They were told to come back the following day.
Day two was equally crowded from statistics. However, some people could not wait to see the therapists because the day was far spent. A total of 346 persons were seen by therapists during the 2-day outreach program.
Those present were separated into groups: Down syndrome, Autism, and Cerebral Palsy, hearing impairment and speech-related problems, and medical issues which ranged from issues with sight, hearing, mobility, sensory – all combined in a child; also seizures and mental retardation.
On the whole, 103 cases of Autism were treated, 126 cases of Cerebral Palsy were also dealt with, while 13 of Down syndrome cases were seen. However, those with Hearing Impairment numbered 13, Speech Delay 76, and there were 6 medical cases and Vocation 9. Those with nutritional needs were told the kinds of foods to eat and what to avoid, while the Psychologist worked on the importance of their roles as parents, and how to handle their children with disabilities.
As a follow-up, they will be added to a WhatsApp group so as to enable us to follow the progress of their children as well as inform them of what will further help them to acquire more skills on caring for their loved ones living with disabilities. Also, there will be quarterly workshops organized for parents of individuals living with Autism so as to keep them in tune with ongoing trends in the field.
Most of the adults that came for the programme were advised to go for vocational skills and many of them were referred to Champions Vocational Centre, while others participant with other developmental challenges were placed on referrals to various places for intervention programmes that suit their challenges.
Apart from the free consultation from the consultants, the crowd was treated to sumptuous meals, for which they were grateful. A lot of them acknowledged the fact that it was a laudable event and would love to have a repeat of it.