The main aim of IFA is to promote Autism awareness in Nigeria while at the same time providing a variety of needed services to address the challenges facing persons living with autism and their families. Autism is a neurological disorder that shows up in the first few years of life with no known causes. Autism is characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and repetitive behaviours. Autism can be associated with learning disability and difficulties in motor coordination.
Main symptoms of ASD include:
• Delayed speech or speech
• Odd sounds/facial expression
• Aggressive behaviour with frequent tantrums
• Head banging and self-inflicted injuries
• Lack of eye contact
• Excessive non-compliance in responding to routine environmental demands
In Nigeria Autism is a condition that is often misunderstood; and it is usually wrongly diagnosed and viewed as a spiritual attack. This is the sad reality that has negatively been impacting on the lives of persons living with autism. The founder, Dr Nwanze Okidegbe, who also has a child on the spectrum, did observe a huge gap between the recommended and the actual care and management available to children with autism and their families in Nigeria as compared to their counterparts in other developed countries. Many cases of autism are treated by personnel, (unorthodox doctors, religious leaders, spiritualists or traditional healers, etc.), who are ill prepared to care for them. Even those who are correctly diagnosed lead a much lower quality of life with little or no opportunity to achieve their full potential because of poor services. Ike foundation for Autism was established to change these realities.
IFA vision is to eliminate Autism Stigma while providing Services
Our mission is to enable all persons living within the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to achieve their full potential and lead productive lives. IFA is committed to improving the well-being of all persons living within the ASD spectrum by ensuring that they can access the services they need regardless of their age or socioeconomic circumstances. Our services include but not limited to the following:
• Empower all persons with autism to exercise their rights to live in dignity and with respect, as well as to work, learn, and play like other citizens;
• Promote parent/family support groups, including counseling and training on managing/handling persons living with autism;
• Provide educational, vocational, recreational and health care services and programs that will improve the livelihoods of persons living with autism;
• Actively participate with other groups to advocate for laws that will be beneficial to persons with autism and their families. This advocacy will be done at both the Federal and State levels;
• Serve as incubator for knowledge generation and sharing, including advocacy and awareness campaigns on issues of interest to persons living with autism; and
• Build partnerships with international and interested stakeholders to raise awareness of autism and funding for autism services.
IFA core values are: