Through her work in advocacy and education, Toks Bakare is addressing the lack of treatment options in under-serviced areas. She “believes in education that acknowledges multiple intelligence and the potential for all children, no matter their ability, to lead full and meaningful lives.”
Toks Bakare is an international behaviour analyst who has over a decade of experience in the field of developmental psychology. She is an independent specialist consultant, providing Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) services to children with autism, other pervasive developmental disorders and related developmental disorders. Her line of action is helping parents, guardians and caregivers “know what to do,” teaching them how to care for their children with special needs, as well as implementing effective behavioural interventions to treat children with neurological disorders.
Toks describes her spur as the inadequacy in the prevailing conditions; ranging from infrastructure to human resource, with respect to handling neurological disorders. She states, “The few centres and schools available for special needs kids delivered outdated and sometimes harmful programs. Children were misunderstood and quite often misdiagnosed, many were being neglected and attitudes towards these disorders were ignorant at best,” It is this void therefore, that has led to Toks devoting her time to working with hospitals in Nigeria to promote the campaign for autism awareness. But she doesn’t just stop there; she has gone an extra-mile in training special educators and therapists on how best to provide care for children with special needs.
Amazing heroic stuff we must say! With about a decade of experience in development psychology, Toks returned to Nigeria, and in 2014, founded AskToks.com with a mission to “establish sustainable services for people with autism in the developing world and in places where services are inadequate or insufficient.” She wanted to research real life experiences and understand how children with special needs were diagnosed and cared for. Furthermore, AskToks.com provides training programmes for parents, teachers, nannies, as well as traditional/religious/community leaders on how to manage special needs kids. It also, through its blog, provides information services and serves as a place of comfort and encouragement for parents and caregivers.
Toks has consulted for the UK Young Autism Project (UK YAP), division of the UK Behaviour Analysis Research Group, working with a range of young children and teens. She is now consulting with medical clinics in Nigeria to enhance the campaign for autism awareness, working closely with a number of educational institutions in Lagos, Toks has been providing training to special educators and therapists in her efforts to improve the quality of service provision to children with special educational needs in the country. In early 2014 she founded asktoks.com, a start-up organization for families in need of professional behavioral advice, treatment and support. The platform helps parents of children with autism or challenging behaviours to seek guidance, treatment and support anonymously.
Toks Bakare is a 2016 nominee in the Prize for Advocacy category of The Future Awards Africa (TFAA) 2016 and we celebrate her for taking it upon herself to not just raise awareness for autism and other neurological disorders, but also equip therapists and parents with relevant information to care for their children.
Featured image source: Leading Ladies Africa