Nakuru County Assembly has passed a motion that will compel Governor Lee Kinyanjui administration to establish special classrooms for children with autism.
According to the motion moved by Lake View Ward Representative Peter Karanja Mburu, the devolved unit will also be required to furnish the classrooms with special equipment and learning materials.
“Many children with autism and other disabilities in our pre-primary centres drop out due to unconducive school environment due to lack of equipment and facilities,” said Mr Karanja.
Mr Karanja observed that many such children were denied an opportunity to explore their talents.
“Many prominent people were autistic at their childhood but it was discovered early and they went on to overcome the condition and today we are enjoying their fruits in whatever they are doing in life,” said Mr Karanja.
The motion will compel the county government to provide early diagnosis of autism, train and employ teachers, para-professionals and multi-disciplinary personnel such as speech and occupational therapists.
“These personnel must be well trained in effective autism intervention techniques backed by science and research such as applied behaviour analysis and individualised educational plans,” said Mr Karanja.
The county government will also be required to have a referral system for severe autism cases.
The motion also wants the county government to establish a committee to address non-compliance and violations to ensure that all children with autism access to basic education.
“The county government must make early interventions and ensure academic goals of such disadvantaged children are achieved as enshrined in our Constitution,” said Mr Karanja.
Kabazi MCA Peter Mbae urged the county government to establish the number of cases of autism in the county.
He said it was sad that the county has never established the data for children suffering with the condition and other disabilities.
“As we set aside money to construct classrooms, the devolved unit, through its health department, should establish a comprehensive data of children with the condition for the purposes of planning how many classes should be constructed in all the 11 sub counties,” said Dr Mbae.
Dr Mbae called on the county to launch an awareness campaign saying some parents hide children with autism.
Flamingo Ward Rep Eddy Kiragu proposed that every ward should have a classroom for children with autism.
“The county government must set aside funds for awareness campaign to enable the parents hiding their children to bring them out in the open for assistance,” said Mr Kiragu.
Other MCAs who supported the motion included Irene Chebichi (Soin), Mr Stanley Karanja (Naivasha East), Racheal Maru (nominated), Mary Waiganjo (Subukia), Grace Wambui Mwathi (nominated) and John Mwangi (Turi).