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Monday, 21 August 2017

PAAI Returns as Autism Parents Association Intern'l, Charges Society to Include Autistic Children in Education

Autism Parents Association International (APAI), formerly known as Parents against Autism Initiative (PAAI) will be launched on International Literacy Day, Friday September 8 this year to emphasise the need for society to include children with autism in their educational programmes.

In a press release issued by Nneka Obiagwu, APAI expressed that it is not-for-profit, Non-Governmental Organisation with objectives to speak up for the Autism Community in Nigeria, spread and reinforce the message of hope to family members and caregivers, create awareness about autism through our activities, Support poor families living with the challenges of autism, provide a pivot where families, therapists and caregivers of people with autism can resort and source information and other relevant support.

More objectives include: to provide training center(s) where Autism service providers are equipped with best practice and cutting edge methods to bring out the best in persons living with Autism, explore, generate and promote indigenous knowledge and contribute to the global search for the cause and cure of Autism.

APAI was founded in 2012 as a Blackberry chat group among four friends who have children on the Autism spectrum. They are: Mrs. Angela Emuwa, Mrs. Bolanle Adewole, Mrs. Dotun Akande, Mrs Nneka Obiagwu and Mrs Toun Okunoren. The group was first launched as Parents Against Autism Initiative (PAAI) at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island Lagos on Saturday April 18, 2014, where it acknowledged and gave appreciation awards to pioneers and veterans of autism support services in Nigeria.

According to the president of the Association, Emuwa, the event was tagged “An Unwinding Evening for Parents. Following the successful launch which added more members to the group, there arose growing concerns about the group’s name which seemed to be ‘against’ the very people it was created to serve. Consequently, the group filed for a change of name with the Corporate Affairs Commission which eventually materialised towards the end of last year.

“Henceforth, we are to be known and addressed as Autism Parents Association International (APAI). Our objectives remain the same,” she said.

Emuwa further highlighted the reasons for the relaunch on International Literacy Day. “It is to create awareness of our new name among our members, who have patiently endured the lull we were plunged into while waiting for our new name to get registered.”

The groups aims to invite new members to its fold, formally launch their website, where interested persons can learn about them and their activities. “To read our highly informative articles on autism and related issues, and download our Newsletter and membership form, launch our Facebook chat group for parents where we can share information and support one another, announce our scholarship award to two indigent children with autism who are undergoing therapy and uncover our programmes for the year to the media and the general public.”