Building Resilience into the Care of Autistic Children in Lagos State: A Social Worker’s Perspective
Abstract:There are centres in Lagos State, Nigeria specifically devoted to the care of children with autism. Such centres have developed various practices, methods, and interventions that over the years have become a standard. To curb the spread of Covid-19 in the year 2020, Lagos State Government imposed a lockdown and various social restrictions. One of the attendant consequences of the lockdown was that these centres, where autistic children were being cared for, had to be closed, made to offer skeletal services, or change the delivery of care to an online version. This research is a qualitative research that aims to show that the model of care offered pre-Covid was not resilient to withstand the sudden change brought by the pandemic and to proffer modification to the present model of care. The study was done through in-depth interviews of expert and snowballed sampled professionals involved in the care of autistic children. The study found that it was impossible to continue some interventions during the lockdown; while it was possible to continue some interventions online, it was difficult to deliver; for other interventions, the delivery was inadequate. This led to deterioration in the clinical, psychological, or social status of these autistic children. The researcher concludes that there is a need to redesign the model of care for autistic children in Lagos to make it resilient to all forms of future disruptions. It was recommended that home-based care and software applications and animations fit for local needs be developed for assessment and interventions.
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