Foundation for Support of Children with Special Needs in collaboration with Ike Foundation for Autism on Thursday July 18 2019, held a forum for parents, caregivers and guardians of children with special needs to discuss “Sexuality Education for children with special Needs”.
The stakeholders meeting convened by Hajia Rafat Salami,was enriched by Dr Badewa Adejugbe-Williams, an educationist with nearly 30 years experience in providing care for children with special needs both in Nigeria and in the US, Mr Francis Mohei Oko, a behavioral therapist whose specialisation has helped to provide the much needed behavioral therapy for children with special needs and Mr Lemmy Ughegbe, a rights activist whose years of advocacy have continued to put issues of rights of special needs children on the front burner.
With the rising cases of violation of children who the special needs, the discussion was aimed at equipping their parents and care givers with the skills they would require to impart sexuality education on their children.
It also empowered parents and care givers to understand how to cope with this reality by empowering the children with special needs with skills and safety behaviour to avoid abuse.
After an extensive discussion,, the meeting noted that
Read in full Communique jointly signed by Hajia Rafatu Salami,Director, Foundation for Support of Children with Special Needs and Mr. Francis Mohie Oko,Director, Ike Foundation for Autism
1. Sexual abuse of children with special needs is still grossly under reported
2. Parents of those who report sexual abuse do not have a sense of being comforted by the system as it often puts untold hardship on them;
3. Many schools which purport to be caring for children with special needs are terribly I owing to lack of monitoring of these schools to compel enforcement of standard.
4. Stigma and discrimination remain a big challenge making it difficult for parents of children with special needs to bring them out and seek help for those children;
5. Cost of assessment and care remain beyond the reach of many parents;
6. Commended the commitment of caregivers in providing the care needed
The meeting also resolved the following.
1. That parents should be vigilant on the behavioral changes in their children.
2. That parents should teach normal children to be guidance to their siblings with special needs.
3. Parents were advised to establish trust with their children.
4. The meeting also resolved that parents should engage their children early enough on the signs and psychology of puberty.
5. Care givers were also advised to do a background check on therapist before engaging them with the children.
6. Parents should discuss the issue of sexuality on a regular basis.
7. Parents must know their rights and demand for it in health institutions and establishment,
8. Parents need to be extra vigilant regarding the sexuality of their children with special needs.
9. Women should be economically independent to have the financial requirements to go through the stages for their children’s development
The meeting further called on government to
1. Proffer stiffer penalty for perpetrators of abuse against children with special needs while also asking for more diligent prosecution of reported cases;
2. While commending Dr. Jumai Ahmadu of the FCT call centre and indeed the FCT administration for the quick response and action on the case of the sexual abuse of a visually impaired students at the school for the blind in Jabi, Abuja, the meeting called for widening of investigation in all schools for special needs children in the FCT, and also for the federal government to do same across the country;
3. There is the need to do an assessment of all the inclusive and special schools to determine their effectiveness and genuineness.
4. There is also the urgent need especially as a matter of priority to develop curriculum for children with special needs to ensure that even in inclusive education, their needs are met
5. The meeting called on the federal ministry of education to convene a summit of all stakeholders to review special education and inclusive education policy for implementation
6. Educators should also start developing supplementary materials for children with special needs so that learning will easier for them and same should be forwarded to the ministry of education;
7. Partnership between stakeholders is fundamental in improving the skills of care givers. appropriate for them.
8. More attention should be given to the psychological mind set of parents with children with special needs as they also need assistance to cope with the challenges of raising them to become their best version.