“Service to Humanity is the best work of life Henry”—Giessenbier
In expanding her humanitarian services to Nigerians, most especially the children and young adults with developmental disabilities, the 5th edition annual Autism programme of the Foremost African financial institution; Guaranty Trust Bank will commence with a 2-day conference at MUSON Centre, Onikan, on the 30th of June and 1st of July, 2015; followed by a 7-day child assessment clinic from the 2nd – 10th July, 2015 as well as a Radio Talk Series in other to sensitise and educate more on the menace.
The initiative, which is in its 5th consecutive year, is an advocacy program designed to create awareness and provide support for children and young adults with developmental disabilities, most especially the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Autism Spectrum Disorder affects 1 in every 150 children around the world and is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with others.
Commenting on the 5th edition of the Annual Autism Seminar, Mr. Segun Agbaje, Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank plc stated “we believe that children, irrespective of developmental disorders can rise to the highest levels in the pursuit of their dreams when given a chance to cultivate their innate skills and maximize their potentials.” He further stated that society on the other hand has a role to play in providing an atmosphere for children living with ASD to thrive. As a Bank, we will continue to provide support for parents, teachers and care givers of children living with Autism Spectrum Disorder through our annual Autism program.
Recognizing the challenge posed by Autism in the educational development of children, GTBank has over the years partnered with various stakeholders and practitioners, including The University of Lagos – College of Medicine, Blazing Trails International, Ministries of Health and Women Affairs to increase awareness about Autism in Nigeria.
The 2015 programme assumes a rather broader spectrum in expanding existing research on ASD through its theme “Bridging Gaps and Transforming lives”. The idea behind this year’s theme, encompasses a broad array of concepts which goes beyond creating awareness for ASD to include increasing social justice education, helping individuals with special needs participate in the political process and providing access to technology for people affected with ASD. Also, the seminar will feature other initiatives such as behavioural training, teaching of non-verbal children functional communication and management of autism disorder.
Addressing the press GTBank Head Office at Akin Adesola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, Oyinade Ogunade, Corporate Affairs, Communication and External Affairs, GTBank says, “ It is very important to see the need and take a bold step to assist the needy. The giant stride by Gtbank and associates is to enhance a strong awareness, create acceptance and educate the community to create space for people with Autism in Nigeria. Its been an interesting journey for Partnering with blazing trails international Center Lewisville, Texas, USA for two consecutive years and this has bought a huge impact to this laudable project. The team has been so helpful, teaching Nigerians about the practicality of Autism and having one on one consultation with the children and young Adults with Developmental disabilities.
Reiterating the giant Stride by the foremost bank, Dr Marcus D. Tillery, Former Founding Dean of the school of Applied Science and Technology at Thomas Edison State College “commend Gtbank and tenacity Federal Government of Nigeria for good leadership and putting together a project that is difficult to address globally”
Speaking at the press briefing Dr Anna Lamikanra, Executive Director, Blazing Trails International Center (BTIC) Autism Symposium Coordinator says, “ We are in the world where Autism is unexplained but the good thing is the conference is bringing all together to help and proffer solution to the global menace. Together we can all support and put smiles on the faces of the disabilities. Help families cope with the emotional and physical challenges and allow communities to better serve and understand children and young adults with disabilities, as they attempt to communicate and lead normal Lives”
The conference, which is free to attend, will feature different classes focusing on diverse areas of the management of Autism Spectrum Disorders. International Professionals such as Nutritionists, Psychologists, Educationists and Medical Practitioners will facilitate the various sessions during the 2-day seminar as well as the 7-days child assessment services. Members of the public can attend the seminar by registering at www.gtbank/autism.
Guaranty Trust Bank plc is one of the few Nigerian financial institutions that have maintained a defined Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy since its inception in 1990. The Bank actively supports numerous programmes across Africa that positively affect Infant and Maternal Healthcare, Education, the Art, Community Development and the Environment.