Four (4) Members of the CCIFG including and hosted by A. B. Business Consultancy (ABBC) held the maiden edition of AACT Fun Games 2017 an event designed to promote awareness of autism amongst the school going community. Decathlon, Macrofertil Ghana Ltd and Sonapack Ghana supported ABBC in providing a fun and interactive environment for learning about the disorder.
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The one-day programme saw pupils from invited schools join their peers from the AACT Centre participate in a variety of games – both mental and physical, with something to suit everyone. Participants (teachers, pupils, sponsors alike) played Oware, Ludo, football, basketball, badminton, volleyball and archery. Miss Maliaka 2017 discovered “Otoonto” (the sail race) whilst the Founder of AACT, Mrs. Quaynor reinvented the sack race with a designer sack and the lime and spoon race had a twist of its own. Despite the abundance of excitement, fun and laughter the key objective – interaction and learning about the disorder – was not far behind.
“I’m happy and the kids are interesting to be with. I noticed that if you spend more time with them you’ll understand them more. We should make them feel like a part of this world and support in any little way we can.”
Emily Darko-Boahene - Manna Mission Academy
“I am here to socialize with people with autism and befriend them. It’s been great so far, I asked them questions, some answered my questions nicely. I expect people to socialize with them and also show them LOVE."
Maud Gankui – Saps International School
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological disorder that is often noticed in the early years. It affects how a person acts and interacts with others, communicates, and learns. The causes of ASD are not known though research suggests that both genes and the environment play important roles. Statistics about its prevalence in Ghana are lacking due largely to cultural beliefs and stigmatization. However, it is reported to affect 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls worldwide (CDC).
It is called a "spectrum" disorder because people with ASD vary in their presentation from mild to profound. They may have challenges interacting, or difficulty looking you in the eye when you talk to them. They may also have restricted interests and repetitive behaviours. They may often appear to be in their "own world."
“It’s like being in a room with a one-way mirror in a spy film.” from the book and play …..The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.
As the maiden edition, school representation was limited to cover two (2) teachers with ten (10) students between the ages of 8 and 12 in order not to overwhelm the students of AACT. Participating schools were – Edifort Memorial School, Sap’s School, ArkInternational School, Precious Gift International School as well selected individual children from other schools. The programme was targeted at young students who as future leaders, need to be educated on the disorder to erase inaccurate perceptions of and embrace their peers afflicted by it.
Sponsorship in cash and kind was received from companies including Decathlon Ghana, Macrofertil Ghana Ltd among others. Requests for the program to be repeated indicated its objective was achieved and it is hoped that with each edition, awareness will increase and the barriers to inclusion will be pushed back further.