Volcom Youth Against Establishment Creates TACA Autism T-Shirt
An Autism Passover

Autism in Ghana

All africa Managing Editor's Note: Read "Ghana, disability law leaves out autistic children" from AllAfrica.com HERE.  Abdulkadir Khalif adds perspective to the state of autism in Africa.

By Abdulkadir Khalif

Ghana is a West African country neighboring Nigeria. It was a British colony until 1956 when it became the first sub-Saharan African country to attain independence from colonialism. The only other Black African countries which were free at that time were Liberia in West Africa and Ethiopia in the east. Together, those three countries encouraged and finally succeeded in freeing the rest of Africa. Ghana has had a turbulent history starting from time when its first president Kwame Nkurumah was overthrown by a military junta that ruled Ghana until very recently. Ghana has produced very prominent politicians and statesmen, the most famous of whom is Kofi Annan the last Secretary General of the United Nations.  

Ghanaians are among the most educated Africans today, and Ghana as a country is considered by many to be a shining example in economic stability, political maturity and as a leader in intra-African affairs. It is also amongst the least corrupt in West Africa maybe because unlike Nigeria it has not been devastated by oil exploration and exploitation and thus escaped all the corruption that goes with such economic trends. Today Ghana is an island of peace in a turbulent region of Africa.

Ghana’s peace and development brought with it all the “perks” that come with that status. It has a sophisticated physical infrastructure and academic institutions it can be proud of. Ghana is self-reliant in food and is the home for the beverage called cocoa. Earlier in its history, Ghana’s children were devastated by a disease called kwashakor. The people of Ghana described it as “the disease the old baby gets when a new baby is born.” Scientists have since given it a new name – malnutrition.

I am not surprised that autism is in Ghana.

I expect Ghanaians to be proactive in the fight against autism. In many parts of Africa, diseases generally are still view as some form of a curse, especially when its cause cannot be easily determined by a doctor. Voodoo is big business especially in West Africa, and it does not matter how wealthy or educated one is. But as in every society there are people who will confront and fight local beliefs, biases and prejudices. Autism advocates in Ghana are representatives of such groups. But let it not be forgotten that those afflicted by this disease are inevitably the affluent and the educated in any society, because of their beliefs and trust in chemical medicines.

Abdulkadir Khalif



Tamunoemi Morgan Briggs

Thank you for all the information on Ghana's past experience in autism.I am the National Coordinator of Oxygen Therapy in Nigeria who used to a teacher for children with special needs "Autism" in a centre by name Patick Speech & Language Centre in Laqos Nigeria.


Hi Mr khalif,
Finally the NCPD has accepted autism as a disability and the programe lunch is on the 8th of april 2010 at the British Council.u most welcome.
mary kuffour.

Adzaho,Godson Yao

Thank you Mr.Khalif.I am a graduate of Psychology and wants to do my M.Phil in Clinical Psychology as well.I really want to do something on Autism and Social Support in Ghana.I heard there are some special schools for Autistic children in Ghana.Wher exactly in Ghana are the schools located? Please kindly help me.
I thank you for awareness in Autism related issues i Ghana.

LJ Goes


Thank you! Please continue to inform and enlighten us about Ghana as their autism problem undoubtedly grows.

Also, my husband and I saw you speak at AI. It was an honor.

I cannot thank you enough for your eloquent delivery of the facts about what is happening in your community.

I was so inspired I had a t-shirt created that reads as follows:

Why do Somalis move to the USA and get autism?

I put the a of a website on the back.

I should receive it in a week.

We'll see how folks here in New Lenox, IL, a town known as the "home of proud americans" will react. God willing it will provoke them to seek the truth!


Thank you, Abdulkadir, for another interesting report. I work with a man originally from Ghana who is in his late 40s; his father is a tribal king with several wives and 45 children. We've discussed autism but he never heard of it in his siblings' generation.


We have voodoo here in the U.S. as well. The genes-only theories of autism, multiple autoimmune disorders (which also tend not to exist in less chemically-oriented, traditional societies) and many "mental" disabilities are nothing more than that-- and it's the biggest business in the world.

The things you've been informing everyone about-- those of us who do not have first hand knowledge of autism in Africa and would not be able to get this information in any major publication-- are probably some of the most crucial and shocking "surveys" on this issue that we're going to hear about. I'm very grateful that we now have your mind and eyes on the subject.


Thank you Mr. Khalif, this was very interesting and informative.

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