"Autism is not Witchcraft" says Doctor as Popular Activist Launches Booklet on the same

Many Kenyans have different perceptions about autism condition.Some believe it is a witchcraft while others think it’s a hereditary disorder.

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Autism is a widely misunderstood developmental disorder that is generally diagnosed in early childhood (3 months to 24 months)  and has been the recent subject of much media and medical attention in Kenya and abroad.

As per now the cause of autism has not been established but it is believed that it’s linked with hereditary factors associated with the genes.

While there has been a noted improvement in diagnostic and therapeutic options for children and their families in developing nations, the attention placed on the same in Kenya and other developing nations is underdeveloped and inadequate at best.

An organization dubbed  Autism Lights Inc. based in Boston, Massachusetts was was founded to create Autism awareness, acceptance and to help improve access to resources and treatment/management options especially in Kenya.

Amongst those working towards these goals is Dr. Lincoln Kamau (Kenyan Bred/Boston Based), BCBA-D, who is Kenya’s only Doctoral level, Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

According  to Dr. Isaiah Khang’ati, one of the associates of the campaign,  highlighted to eDaily  some of the  autistic symptoms prone to children between 3 months to 8 months:

·        A child being unable to  point or recognize objects

·        Not able to recognize the voie of their parents/ Guardians

·        A child may be attracted to a specific kind of objects,family members,certain kind of food or  a certain type of colour.

·        Unable to maintain eye conduct ( The eyes may be in a bit funny angle)

·        The child may also have a gloomy social interaction

“As for now autism has no convention treatment in terms of drugs,it only requires a multi-disciplinary process ( Psychologists,Teachers,Parents,paediatricians and Nutrional experts) to manage it” added  Dr. Isaiah Khang’ati.

However, Dr Isaiah Khang’ati said warned  Parents  to control the amount of sugar their children consume especially at the age of (3 months to 24 months) as it may trigger hyperreactivity process.

“I want to urge all parents to take their kids for Autism assessment test so that they are able to detect it at an early age and control it while still under development” added  Dr. Isaiah Khang’ati

Earlier this year, on World Autism Awareness Day, Autism Lights held an Autism awareness event that was free and open to the public at the All Saints Cathedral Church, Nairobi. This event which was in attendance of Kenyan celebrities such as Collo, Dj Mo, Nazizi, JuaCali, MOG, Sleepy David (from the Churchill Show) and others who are in support of Autism Awareness.

In addition, Dr. Kamau, who spearheaded a team of Autism experts that included Pooja Pensar (Kaizora Consultants) and Dr.Isaiah Khang’ati, both based in Nairobi, gave seminars and answered questions on Autism for parents and loved ones affected by this disorder.

As an off shot of that event, the team realized that more is needed to address the social attitudes, inform parents and teachers on diagnostic practices, educational opportunities, and government intervention programs available for Autism treatment in Kenya.

The booklet “A Parent’s Guide on Understanding Autism: for Kenyan Parents” presented by Autism Lights, is the first guide of its kind in Kenya. It discusses what Autism is, includes the signs and symptoms, the cause of Autism and various treatment approaches. This booklet will be available free of charge on October 22nd 2016 at Educational Assessment and Resource Centers in every district headquarters.

In Nairobi, this booklet will be available at all three assessment centers, KISE (Kasarani), St. Anne’s Primary School (Eastlands) and Kenyatta National Hospital.

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