2017: Okey Martins Nwokolo
Centre for Autism & Developmental Disabilities
Mazi Okey Martins Nwokolo was awarded an International Development Grant to start an applied behavior analysis library to facilitate access to behavior analysis books and journals in Nigeria. In most rural areas of Africa, there is an urgent need to promote access to the discipline of ABA by making its books and resources available to parents, students, special education teachers, and others seeking evidence-based interventions for the growing population of persons with autism and related developmental disabilities. The ABA library project is beneficial to parents, students, and professionals, many of whom previously could not access ABA research and reference materials. Additionally, journalists will now have more opportunities to read relevant scientific literature to impact the perspectives they promote in their coverage of behavioral issues. This is important because explanatory fictions based on beliefs in demons and spiritual possession currently dominate treatment options for behavioral and non-physical health-related issues.
Nwokolo is a dedicated advocate for persons with autism in and around Nigeria. In 2006 he organized the historic 5-day Enugu ABA conference featuring Dr. Christina Sullivan, BCBA-D, and other ABA experts from the Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center, Virginia. He is the initiator of Lagoswalk4autism, Asabawalk4autism, and later Nigeriawalk4autism. Nwokolo is also the founder of the Centre for Autism & Developmental Disabilities (CADD) based in Asaba, Delta State. CADD donated the room that now serves as the ABA library.
The library is of immense benefit to students working on their thesis projects, as well as parents in the city of Asaba and environs. Asaba is geographically well situated and accessible to other university cities such as Benin, Enugu, Awka, Owerri, Okigwe, and others. Books and journals on applied behavior analysis are either scarce or non-existent in nearly all the libraries at these universities, and this lack functions as an abolishing operation for the dissemination and advancement of the field. The grant has, however, set a new contingency for positive change.
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