The founder of IZE Therapy and Vocational Centre, Miss Aishat Jatto, has urged the Federal Government to create an enabling environment for children with special needs to enhance their educational pursuit.
Jatto, who is also visually impaired, made the appeal in Abuja on Saturday at the opening of the vocational centre.
“Children with disability or special needs struggle to acquire educational qualification, and there are no facilities provided by government to help make their learning process easy,’’ she said.
Jatto stated that such children needed to be given proper attention by the society in order to live their normal life and not to be depressed.
Jatto appealed to government to provide more learning facilities for people living with disabilities in the country, saying the country has just one school for visually impaired persons.
Mr Badamis Jatto, Aishat’s father, said his family decided to set up the centre to assist children with special needs in the country.
“This will help them have a sense of belonging and also help to contribute in their own little way to the society.’’
Jatto, a Director in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, however, encouraged parents not to abandon their children in such situations but rather seek help.
“It was not an easy thing when it started six years ago. I went through a trauma. We tried our best by flying her to India, the U.S. and Thailand, seeking solution to no avail. I do hope the society will stop the stigmatization, but rather encourage them by showing love and care because that is what they need now,’’ he said.
Mrs Mildred Abimbola, the Centre Administrator, said a lot of people tended to hide those with disabilities because of the stigma.
She however encouraged them to speak out for help.
“Many parents with children with special needs struggle with what school to put their children in, while some are ashamed of having to put them in schools with other children. Some are not aware that vocational facilities as such exist, let alone where they are located. The truth is that children who have physical, emotional or learning challenges may struggle in traditional academic settings.’’
Abimbola however advised parents with children who have disabilities not to hide them but bring them out.
IZE therapy and vocational centre is owned by an individual with special needs and created with a boarding facility to cater for individuals with various kinds of challenges.
Some of these challenges are autism, Down Syndrome, dyslexia, cerebral palsy, physical and psychological challenges.
The centre’s objective is to meet the emotional, psychological, social and environmental needs of these individuals, and thereby help in preparing them for independence.