Vice President Mutale Nalumango has urged the newly launched National Autism Association of Zambia (NAAZ) to make recommendations to the government on how issues of autism can be best addressed in Zambia.
Mrs Nalumango pointed out that the government recognises the critical role that people with autism play in national development, hence, it has put in place the national policy on disability.
She said this in a speech read on her behalf by Minister of Information and Media Chushi Kasanda, during the launch of National Autism Association of Zambia (NAAZ) in Lusaka today.
Mrs Nalumango indicated that the government wants to see people with autism in mainstream schools, in order for them to also be able to compete with others and be treated equally.
‘’I do recognize the challenges people with Autism go through including parents for children with autism, I urge NAAZ and other stakeholders in all the autistic community in the country to work hard and achieve their dreams.
I also urge you to have a positive mind and stop feeling pity for yourself as there is so much that you can do for the country and for yourselves,’’ advised Mrs Nalumango.
She further commended the association for the great work of being done to improve the lives of persons with autism through various awareness programmes.
‘’This is good as you are complementing the government’s efforts in improving the lives of our people and also improving their welfare and the development of our country,’’ said Mrs Nalumango.
Meanwhile NAAZ Chairperson Angela Gondwe said the association is aimed at spreading awareness on autism in all corners of the country, in order to create a conducive environment for the autistic children.
She stated that the association is hopeful that health facilities will help in the early diagnosis of the condition in children, in order to have early intervention.
Ms Gondwe also appealed to the government to ensure that schools for autistic children are made available and accessible.
‘’We have a five year strategic plan where we hope to see all these objectives come to pass.
We want to have teachers that understand autism, defense forces that understand autism. Autistic children are in prison as we speak, and they do not understand why they are there,’’ explained Mrs Gondwe.