Raising awareness for autism is very important in a country, especially in Africa where victims are stigmatised and sometimes banished from society or sent to prayer camps for healing. This is why Ghana has developed an autism app to change attitudes and improve the lives of children with autism.
The app which comes ahead of the World Autism Day on April 2, is the first Android application for children living with Autism in Ghana and West-Africa. It was launched by Autism Ambassadors of Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organisation, led by Ms Alice Mamaga Akosua Amoako, on Friday.
The app provides a helpline service for families of children living with Autism to acquire information from professionals on how to care for their children. It utilises the Picture Exchange Communication System, where visuals are used to instigate communication in children. This comes with image sections, sign language tools for those who are not able to communicate verbally. The app also has a list of local foods and transport that children can choose from.
For now, the NGO behind the app says it hopes to implement it in all the 193 UN member countries in the world.
‘’It is time for all of us to accept children living with Autism in the society and give them the adequate resources needed to help them live an enabling life, that is why the Autism Ambassadors of Ghana is introducing to you the Autism Aid App.
‘’For us Autism Ambassadors of Ghana, our most cherished asset is the education and improved life of children living with autism and so we give them our best. We, therefore, strategise and develop programmes to suit their interest’’, Ms Amoako was quoted by local media, the Ghana News Agency.
Autism is a disability that affects people’s senses and how they communicate with others. Many parents often keep their children at home for fear of being stigmatised. The autism app is hoping to change the trend.
Amoako and co-founder Solomon Avemegah developed the app in 2014 after winning a competition, the Digital Changemakers award run by the mobile company, Tigo. Through Reach For Change, Tigo’s non-profit partner, the project was able to get funding and other support.
Download the Autism Aid App from the Google Play Store or dial *800*24# on any network to get access to support services for children with Autism.