16 April 2019

Liberia: 'Do Not Stigmatize People With Autism' - JFK Boss

Paynesville — In continuation of World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) which is celebrated April 2 every year, the Chief Medical Officer of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital, Dr. Sia Wata Camanon is calling on the public to treat people living with autism with special care rather than isolating them from the community.

Speaking to FrontPage Africa on Monday April 15, during a one-day Autism awareness workshop in Paynesville, Dr. Camanon said autism is a disease that can be cure if properly taking care of from the initial stage.

She said people with autism in the country are in difficult condition because of the way they are treated.

According to the JFK boss, children with autism become more vulnerable to the disease if they are neglected by society.

"We should look around and see people who are different from us and try to give them special treatment especially children with autism. It is difficult to have a child with autism, but the society even makes it worse by the way they treat children with autism. Do not stigmatize people with autism," she said.

"People with autism are innocent, just because they are sick does not mean that they are in witch or their parents did something, [it's] just that something is wrong in their brain. It is something if discover early can be work on," Dr. Camanon noted

Autism is a pervasive neurological disorder that is observable in early childhood and persists throughout the lifespan, characterized by atypical communication language development, eye contact, and sensory experience. The disease is common in Liberia as it is visible in communities around the country.

Also speaking to FrontPage Africa at the end of the workshop, Joyce Witherspoon, a US based Liberian, said the intent of the training sworkshop is to educate Liberians on the means of assisting people with autism.

"What do we do with people with the condition of autism? how can we help or teach them is the purpose of this workshop? We have to involve the church and the mosque, so we are creating the awareness for them to spread the message to the communities what we are doing here today", she stated.

Madam Witherspoon said autism is just like any other sickness that does not require isolation. Adding that assisting those with autism is a way of improving society.

"This is just a health condition that does not define the person carry it, so we do not want people looking down upon people with it. What we should do is try to help those with autism, because by helping them we are making society better," Madam Witherspoon said.

She also urging the government of Liberia to take the disease seriously because of the effect it had on the country population.

Liberia

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