Accra, March 10, GNA – Mr Nortey Dua, a Senior Clinical Psychologist, has called on government to invest in the empowerment of persons with Intellectual Developmental Disorder (IDD) to help them contribute meaningfully to national development.
He said government must adequately invest in social protection and accessibility schemes that would ensure the development of the full potentials of those persons to ensure they earned sustainable incomes and their easy integration into society.
Mr Dua made the call at a seminar in Accra organised by New Horizon Special School, in collaboration with Parents Association for Children with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism (PACID GHANA) on the theme: Development Delays: Awareness Creation and Public Education Through the Media”.
The seminar aimed at finding lasting solutions to bridging the IDD gap and also provide the platform for educating parents on the development of babies and defusing public perception about people with the disorder through the media.
Mr Dua said in most conservative data people with intellectual challenges and difficulties formed two to three per cent of the population.
“There is somebody in a normal school who nobody assess and so you do not know they have the problem, so these are projections that are significant, which must be looked at.
“That is why state resources should be made available to address some of these things and make sure that most of them can live as close to independent lives as possible,” he said
Mr Dua advised parents to send their babies for regular check-ups to ensure they enjoyed healthy lives.
He also charged the media to promote the rights of people with intellectual disability and sensitise the public to change the wrong perception about these individuals.
Dr Marilyn Marbell-Wilson, a Paediatric Neurologist, said delays in a child’s development could be due to cerebral palsy, intellectual disability or autism.
She said signs and symptoms of these disabilities include impairment in social interaction, lack of warm joyful expression, inappropriate gazel of the eye, unusual sensory exploration, and excessive interest in particular toys.
“When your child is not walking when he is supposed to be walking or not talking when he is supposed to be talking or not playing with other children as other children are doing, it is very important to seek help because early diagnosis and early intervention is key to prognosis.
“If you leave the child at home or you hide the child, then the child cannot get the support he needs, the child cannot reach his full potential and then you would have made a disservice to the nation,” she said.
Dr Marbell-Wilson called on women to plan their pregnancies and live healthy lifestyles to deliver sound babies, adding that some infections that affect the development of babies were avoidable whiles other causes could not be prevented including genetic disorders and down syndromes.
She, therefore, called on pregnant women not to take in alcohol to avoid fetal alcohol syndrome, which causes intellectual disability.
Mrs Salome Francois, the Founder of the New Horizon Special School, said PACID GHANA, a non-governmental organisation, established in 2001, was born as a result of desperate cry for help from parents of children with intellectual IDD.
She said it was, therefore, set up to lend support to such mothers, promote their rights and advocate for policies and programmes that would serve their interest.
She urged Ghanaians to show love, tender care and support to children and adults with IDD intellectual disability and not discriminate against them.