Chief of Staff Akosua Frema Opare has commissioned an early intervention centre in Accra for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs).
The centre, located at Dome in the Ga West Municipality, will provide in-class programmes for pre-school children with IDDs such as autism, speech and occupational therapy as well as small group therapy sessions, among others.
Madam Frema Opare commended Klicks Africa Foundation for the support it has been providing over the years for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the bold initiative to set up an early intervention centre to help pre-school children with such disabilities enjoy their lives and learn useful skills to enable them grow into productive adults.
She was also impressed with the support services the centre intends to provide for families with children with conditions such as autism.
She said such programmes will help families adapt to their children’s disabilities while orienting society to accept and embrace and take better care of children with conditions such as autism.
“These are the kind of initiatives that we should encourage in Ghana,” Madam Opare said.
She further applauded the Executive Director of Klicks Africa Foundation, Mary Kufuor, for using her experiences as a mother of a child with autism to support other parents with children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“I want to commend Mrs Kuffour and her team for embarking on this personal effort, using a personal situation to reach out to many more so that whatever she learns is not for her alone but to benefit other children and families.”
Madam Opare called on professionals in health, childcare and social welfare to lend their services to the centre.
“What I will say is that society should be sensitive to the needs of others and begin to share resources,” she said. “I am appealing to people with special skills like doctors, therapists and counsellors to all join hands and find institutions such as this and offer some free time. It is not always about asking ‘what can government do for me?’, but what can I also give to my country,” she stated.
Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Freda Akosua Prempeh, announced at the ceremony that legislation will soon be introduced to support the delivery of services to parents of children with disabilities.
“Currently we are amending the Disability Act and then we hope that we incorporate issues affecting parents that have children with special needs,” she said.
“What we are encouraging others to do is to try and identify any abnormality in their children as they grow up so that they report it for attention. We are also working together with our donor partners to see through our Social Welfare Department to support parents that have children with special needs,” she noted.
At the ceremony, Chief of Staff donated furniture, toiletries, assorted drinks and made-in-Ghana rice, among other things, in support of the centre.
The Founder of Klicks Africa Found, Mary Kufuor, expressed gratitude to the Chief of Staff and other individuals and organisations who have supported the establishment of the centre.