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An awareness worth accepting: Embracing AUTISM!

An awareness worth accepting: Embracing AUTISM!

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Have you recently felt a kind of jubilation within your heart upon completing a project, a job or an assignment? Self-appraisal aside, how would you score yourself? Thumbs up or down?

Did you feel accomplished? Frustrated? Burned out? Confused about your career path? Are you still wishing you could have chosen a more fulfilling goal to work towards? Do you crave for acceptance or recognition from others to celebrate your victory? How would you describe your goal-driven-desire even without achieving any of the things listed above?

A couple of Sundays ago, right after church, my girlfriends and I (Kene & Tinunke) allowed our kids to play together in the lobby as we got carried away deep in a concerned conversation about career choices and how our African parents played a huge role in strict decision making for their children!

Hmm! Tell me about it! ‘We echoed amidst deep laughter, hip slapping and a cheerful pat on the shoulder as we exchanged stories of a confusing and oppositional remembrance of our struggle to decline our parent’s choices of profession for us then! Ah, you must become a Medical Doctor! Or ‘an Engineer! Or a Lawyer! …’Lol. Thank goodness we eventually followed our heart’s desire, then or later!

After decades of enduring and attempting to be like my mother, the civil service accountant or trending after the steps of my father, the articulate site developer/Land surveyor… ‘It just wasn’t my calling…’it didn’t last long! ‘Years of boring TD classes and assorted French curves with cursive initial of AOG engraved on both sides! Long sessions of Math tutoring when really my mind was focused on watching ‘Wild Rose’ Phew!

Many people are still living stress-filled lives because they never sought and discovered God’s plan and are still trapped in jobs and careers that simply do not fit into. Every day, they feel like the proverbial round peg being jammed into a square hole – isn’t that a painful and frustrating experience? Meaning…people never experience fulfilment in their work because they are in the wrong line of work to begin with just to fulfil other’s needs!

There was a passion hidden deep inside of me, yet unraveled, but always rearing its way out of my consciousness. It has to be something greater than me and I waited…and waited…and waited…’until I set my eyes on Peter, the cutest 5-year-old boy, recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder…I became his behavior therapist…’that was 14 years ago…He was my first client as He helped pave the way for my passion working with special needs children.   #LifeGoals

So, since we are in April, and its world Autism month, ‘ask yourself…’how aware am I about the term Autism, and how understanding or accepting am I, when I relate with someone with Autism? ‘Am I tolerant and capable of coping or communicating with someone on the spectrum? What difference can I make in the life of someone with Autism? Or how can I be useful to the family of a child with Autism?

It is easier to proclaim we care about someone with a disability or illness or even carry a banner of awareness when our hearts reject all the flaws that come with it!

We sometimes carelessly use hurtful and inappropriate names (crazy, weird, awkward, sickly child or dying woman) to label others just because we feel they are vulnerable or we think we are stronger than their situation? Hello? ‘Got perfect life?

Here’s one of the 10 things a child with autism would like you to know and accept, before judging…

Listen to all the ways I’m trying to communicate.

It’s hard for me to tell you what I need when I don’t have a way to describe my feelings. I may be hungry, frustrated, frightened, or confused but right now I can’t find those words. Be alert for body language, withdrawal, agitation or other signs that tell you something is wrong. They’re there.

Or, you may hear me compensate for not having all the words I need by sounding like a little professor or movie star, rattling off words or whole scripts well beyond my developmental age. I’ve memorized these messages from the world around me because I know I am expected to speak when spoken to. They may come from books, television, or the speech of other people. Grown-ups call it echolalia. I may not understand the context or the terminology I’m using. I just know that it gets me off the hook for coming up with a reply.

By Ellen Notbohm from the book Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew, 2nd edition (2012, Future Horizons, Inc.)

We all want to be successful in our chosen profession. Whether we believe in what we do or not. Our goal is to nail it and keep moving. Your office may be downtown or just inside your front door. Your work clothes may be an elegant suit or ragged jeans and a stained t-shirt. You may be paid in cash or with crayon drawings and sticky kisses like me! It doesn’t really matter because none of these things alone makes us successful in the work place.

Our success comes from the lives we touch with real acceptance…full acceptance of all the shortcomings! #Autism Acceptance

God empowers His plan in us, but when we step into our own agenda or a plan created by anyone else, we are stepping into and relying upon our frail, limited strength. We will soon be empty and stress will flood in, filling the emptiness with anxiety and tension. Don’t waste another day just doing the “next” thing. Take a long, hard look at your work, your job, and your agenda to make sure you are in the right place – doing what you were created to do in this world.

Do more this month, volunteer to be of assistance to a family with a special needs child, and love them genuinely for life!

Yours in HOPE!

Yinka.

Autism Care Network UK

Autism Care Network, Dubai.

 

 

 

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How aware are you about ‘AUTISM’?

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Today April 2nd, is World Autism Awareness Day. Although we know so much more about autism than we did twenty or thirty years ago, it is still very important for all of us to make sure we know some facts and are able to debunk the myths about autism.

As an Applied  Behavioral Analyst with a  deep passion for autistic children, I am joining the rest of the world in wearing blue #LIUB and campaigning for a cause I believe in!

But today is about so much more than tweets and t-shirts. People like my childhood friend, Oyin! My cousin Sammy! and so many others who are on the autism spectrum, live with it every single day — we can’t stop showing our support when the blue lights go out.aut 5

Awareness is the first step to making true progress. With a loud enough megaphone, supported by your voice, we can convince lawmakers to fund more research for innovative treatments and resources for students on the spectrum who need a little extra support to keep up with their peers.

We can keep mapping the human genome to gain greater understanding of the many forms of autism and develop personalized treatments. We can educate more parents about the signs of autism to increase the rate of early diagnosis — and then connect them with the resources they need to help their child lead a happy and healthy life.

Here are 10 good reasons we should care about AUTISM:

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.aut 3aut 2A diagnosis of ASD now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. These conditions are now all called autism spectrum disorder.

  1. About 700,000 people alone in UK are on the autism spectrum and with their families they make up around 2.8 million people whose lives are affected by autism on a daily basis according to the National Autistic Society. While about 36,500 of every 4 million children born each year in the United States will have autism.
  2. The number of people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has dramatically increased over the last few years. Today it’s estimated that one child in 68 has ASD. This means in a secondary school of 1500 students about 15 of them will be autistic.
  3. Being diagnosed as autistic isn’t a label or something negative – it can mean the difference between growing up in a confusing, scary world and getting all the right support and services. It also gives parents an explanation for difficulties their child is having. Adults can be diagnosed with autism as well.use1
  4. Autistic people have a unique take on the world that can be fun, enlightening, entertaining and thought-provoking. They encourage us to see the value of sounds, smells, places and objects that may otherwise pass us by.
  5. Chances are most people will know or be related to someone with autism making it vital that they understand something about what autism is and how they can adapt their world to make it more autism-friendly.
  6. Autism is an invisible disability. That they could have extreme difficulties with sensory processing and social understanding and interaction is not immediately apparent.
  7. Every autistic individual has their own unique version of autism. There are many myths and assumptions, but if you’ve met one person with autism … you’ve met one person with autism.aut 4
  8. That kid in the supermarket having a tantrum might just be an autistic child so overloaded with sights, smells and sounds that the fear and stress has led to a meltdown. Think twice before judging: many parents are fighting battles like these every day and need your understanding and support.
  9. Autistic traits have had a clear benefit to human development, and can affect the emotional well-being of the caretaker – Reach out to a family in need today!
  10. Finally, I would like everyone reading this to show support within their natural environment by volunteering to learn coping strategies – Sunday schools! Camps, or even within your community! And my prayer is that, eventually they will grow up in a world that understands and embraces their difference … shortcomings and all.

***Dedicated to all my 240 adorable Autistic children & families, to the ones we have lost due to late intervention or mis-diagnosis and to all the early intervention/behavioral therapists who have dedicated their lives to serve them. Thank you.

Yours in HOPE as I #LightItUpBlue for Autism Awareness this month!

Yinka.

for Autism Resources Inc   ‘coming soon!

 

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Branding our optimism: Standing up straight and tall. PART ONE.

When I was a teenager, my mother used to threaten me whenever I hunched over at the dining table. “If you don’t sit up and finish up your food,’ she’d say, ‘I’m going to have to buy you a therapeutic back brace from Bola Chemist.” Honestly, I don’t even know if Bola Chemist make or sell back braces back then, but it sounded like a pretty good threat to me. Just the thought of passing through St Nicholas hospital or General Hospital all next door to Bola Chemist gave me nightmares! So I decided to cultivate a habit of always sitting up straight even when my mother’s prying eyes are not following me. And it worked out well, even until now as I’ve had to deal with some of life’s deep slumping experiences. And still ongoing.lag 3

So, I recently just returned from one of the greatest and fulfilling trips of my life! I was very blessed for encountering such beautiful and dedicated people back in Nigeria who deeply shared my passion for creating and making success stories happen. Not because the society requests it for status quo or cheap publicity, but because their love for humanity and community service is genuine.

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Talking about CANCER AWARENESS.

I’d learnt that carrying a banner to display a passion is not the same as connecting one-on-one with real life people, dealing with real life issues. Sometimes, creating a platform of awareness for our passion or a desired cause goes beyond media or social network. Connecting with the soul-carrier is deeper.

For the great opportunity given to me by Samson @TREK magazine who met with me at my parent’s house on the Island for the one-on-one interview on AUTISM AWARENESS IN NIGERIA and my proposal on establishing a support group/Autism school in Lagos. I am very grateful! For connecting me with various NGOs and Healthcare Administrators in Lagos. Thank you.

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ON AIR with KBABALOVEDOCTOR of WAZOBIA 95.1 FM, Lagos.

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With K Baba, Host of WAZOBIA FM’S “Love Clinic”

My midnight ON AIR radio show host connector! Ogunleke Kayode Clement aka. KBABA THE LOVE DOCTOR of  WAZOBIA 95.1 FM on Etim Inyang Street, V/Island. DR. Love! I hail! I salute! I am so thrilled and still excited about our ON AIR show. Thanks for giving me the platform to discuss more on #Moving Forward With Yinka! For giving me the opportunity to be your special guest on ‘Love Issues – relationships and marriage segments. Thanks for allowing me to be part of the panel for taking on calls from concerned and confused callers who needed help pertaining their love lives! Thanks for embracing my optimism on CANCER AWARENESS in Nigeria and allowing me to talk ON AIR to numerous wa 6listeners all over the world about my own personal journey as a 5year-cancer survivor. Oops! (Thanks for bringing out the best Pidgin English in me! Lol). You are truly appreciated. God bless you plenty my broda! – “As u don do for me dis good so! Na only better go dey come ya way o! (Lol).

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Autism Awareness Interview with Olori 60 Minutes TV in Lagos.

Special thanks to my team at 60 Minutes TV, Lagos! Olori 60 minutes! My PA and favorite niece! My personal graphics and studio manager, LeeGrapher! And everyone at 60 minutes TV. For the interview on Autism Awareness and support group in Nigeria, for connecting me with all the different families dealing with the challenges that come with caring for a special needs child in Nigeria. For every family who showed up and have embracedlag 4 the need for Autism awareness, and were more interested in finding a common ground for intervention! Because of you all, my journey to Lagos was successful! I pray that God continues to strengthen you all, emotionally and physically.

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FGGC Sagamu class of 1990 reunion @ Lekki.

A girly-shout out to my Almer Mater, Federal Government Girls College Sagamu class of ’90, for organizing a reunion luncheon at Lekki on OCT 1st! Love you all great shagamites! So good to see/hear from you all. Special thanks to Oby Ejekam-Ekekwe for creating what’s App Class of 1990 “P” Girls chat room! Babes, even after 25 years! You all still look smashing in your 40s! God’s hands’ is surely on us.

So, if you are reading this, ask yourself, what does it take to stand up straight and tall in your life? What is it that hinders my growth? Am I failing to thrive? Do I know my purpose for life? How can I package my idealism or confidence? Talk to me! Hmmm…

To be continued next week…

Yours in HOPE

Yinka.

 

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