Friday 2nd April is World Autism Day and Orange in collaboration with Browne-Penn Special Education School at Wellington will celebrate the Day.
Foundation Director of Orange Sierra Leone Jestina Betts said the reason they decided to partner with Brown-Penn was to help them bring awareness to what they are doing with autistic children who she said need care.
“We have many children across the country that needs care and what Browne-Penn is doing is great, so that is the reason Orange has decided to partner with them to make sure that we give them the space and other support to help these children get the required support they need to make it in life.”
Ms Betts averred that few months ago she understood that the parent body is very keen on autism and because of that she brought it to their management, for Orange Sierra Leone too would take up such venture. This she said was well accepted; and now they have started working assiduously to give support to Browne-Penn for better care to the children.
Co-Founder of Browne-Penn, Mary Penn-Timity said she is affected by the disease as her daughter is suffering from it, which gave them the reason to start the school.
“When I am walking with my daughter along the streets there is always the comment of ‘fool fool pikin’,” which she said is disheartening, but does not hamper her strength to continue to provide and take care of her daughter.
Mary Penn-Timity said as co-founder they decided to see how they could help other children in the city, which led them to start the Browne-Penn Special Education School at Wellington. She averred that her partner was the one who was able to secure the space, and they started in 2014.
“When we start we thought we would not be able to get many children; we were surprised to see the turnout of children that have the ailment. Today we have registered the organisation in 2017, and have opened the Under-Five at Lumley.”
She said one of their major challenges is transportation as the children are unable to fight for transport. She said they were able to secure a bus for the school at Wellington, but the Under-Five are struggling for transportation.
“Presently we have a cordial relationship with the Ministry of Education and we hope that the support from them will help us take good care of the children. Also now that Orange has come on board we again are very grateful as the support they will give us will go a long way.”
Mary Penn-Timity said this year the World Autism Day falls on Good Friday and they would not be able to do much as the children are on holidays. She said they are looking for more support and more sensitisation so that Sierra Leoneans will understand that their children with autism do not mean they are possessed and they must be maltreated. She said they must be cared for and that is what they are doing to make these children have a voice and place in society.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a broad term used to describe a group of neurodevelopmental disorders characterised by problems with communication and social interaction. People with ASD often demonstrate restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped interests or patterns of behaviour.
ASD is found in individuals around the world, regardless of race, culture, or economic background. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Trusted Source, autism does occur more often in boys than in girls, with a 4 to 1 male-to-female ratio.