World Autism Awareness Day #WAAD is celebrated on April 2nd, so by default April is the awesome-est month in the world. Throughout the month, people all over the world work hard raising awareness and teaching acceptance for Autism Spectrum Disorders. Here’s what we’ve been doing.
Our earlier post from WAAD this year showed us at the GTB Walk 4 Autism. What we didn’t tell you was that while doing a fantastic job spreading information about autism, our Director – Ms Bakare, walked, danced, skipped and ran so enthusiastically, she lost the soles of her shoes! There’s a picture of it somewhere but we promised not to post it.
We also didn’t tell you that while spreading awareness within the community is important to us, we had been thinking deeply about how asktoks.com’s campaigns could positively impact the very same children we are shouting about; the children we work with and the children we cannot reach.
Our worldview is that change is possible through education. We needed a campaign that enabled us to educate key members of the community and equip those people with practical tools for addressing children with autism and other developmental disorders.
Our teaching philosophy is based on the idea that learning happens most effectively when children are positively motivated to learn. A campaign that improves our ability to motivate the children we work with, would have exactly the impact we were looking for.
Naturally we thought… what motivates children (after TVs & iPads)? Toys! Specifically chosen types of toys called reinforcers, but still, toys! Reinforcers (pictured below) like these are used in the ABA program as a consequence for behaviours we want to increase. Everytime a child gets something right, they also get a fun toy to play with for a few seconds. Toys as reinforcers are great because they motivate children to want to learn new skills everyday. For us, getting these reinforcers means our children would get a fun set of toys and a boost in learning.
To make this happen, we teamed up with gelato giant Hans and Rene and local business Sweet Spot Bakery to create a Special Gelato flavour for Autism and pop-up Bake Sales at Stranger Lagos and Wrap City.
The cupcakes, cookies, ice cream and other treats were a hit! We set up the Children’s Resource Fund, we partnered with the Ministry of Health in Lagos State and organised training on the signs, symptoms and management of developmental disorders like autism. Free training will be delivered to the Primary Health Care workers at a local primary health care center.
There’s more… we went deep into the heart of Lagos Island, Apongbon to be exact and bought enough toys to make approximately 50 reinforcer kits! Free reinforcer kits will be given to children currently being supported by ABA tutors who have been trained in using reinforcers to teach. We’ve given out a couple already and the children love them! (Pictured below)
To further our reach with primary health care workers, to boost learning for more children and to show your support, donate to the Children’s Resource Fund today. Email firstname.lastname@example.org