The Omega Power Ministries (OPM) says it has established a free school for people with autism and Downs syndrome.
General Overseer and Founder of OPM, Apostle Chibuzor Chinyere, said the establishment of the school was part of the church’s efforts to provide for less privileged children with special needs.
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Apostle Chinyere told newsmen that the school, located in Port Harcourt, would give children with special needs a sense of belonging.
He said its establishment was in line with OPM’s desire to have the children of the less privileged educated free of charge.
He added that the school would complement OPM’s 15 free regular primary and secondary schools located in different parts of the country.
“Rich people whose children have special needs take them to special schools, but the poor who cannot afford to send their children to these schools regard the children as bad luck, some abandon them anywhere.
“In OPM, we decided to look for these kids and handle them with care using spiritual and physical means; we handle them with prayers.
“These children can be great, but because of their special needs and conditions they are not too good at understanding things the way other children do, but they are very good with their hands.
“We want to concentrate on using their hands to create things, and while we are backing them up with prayers spiritually, they will be healed by the Grace of God because there is nobody Jesus Christ cannot heal.
“That is why we are opening this free special school for children with special needs,” Apostle Chinyere said.
According to him, a recruitment process has started to get the services of professional teachers that will concentrate on the children.
He assured that the school would spread to other parts of the country the way the church’s free regular primary and secondary schools sprang up in parts of the country.
“We are starting recruitment of professional teachers that will concentrate on these children with special needs because it is not every teacher that can handle them.
“We also provide these children with free school uniforms, footwears, school bags and back-to-school supplies, just the way we distribute freely to children in our 15 regular schools.
“Also, equipment for special needs schools were purchased and the children have improved on many skills they did not have before.
“This is happening in a short while of the school’s existence and most of them who weren’t talking or writing prior to their enrolment into the school have started talking and writing,” he said.
One of the teachers who overcame autism, Mrs Chiamaka Mbekwe, an organist with a Master’s Degree, said the children would overcome their conditions and be reintegrated into society.
Mbekwe said the children were being given special attention to find out what works or interests them before they can be taught.
“We provide play-based interventions that combine behavioural and developmental approaches because the attention spans of most of them are short and their eye contacts are not so good,” she explained.
OPM also has two free specialist hospitals for the health needs of the less privileged.