Helen Obiageli Oshikoya, LLB, BL, MA, ACIEA, CAS
Title: Founder & CEO
School/Organizations: Nobelova Gradani PsychoEducational Services Nigeria
1) How has earning the Certified Autism Specialist been meaningful and satisfying?
I am the founder/CEO of Nobelova Gradani PsychoEducational Services in Nigeria. I am a lawyer by profession and hold a Master’s Degree in Social Science from the United Kingdom with a specialty in child development, learning assessments and other areas of social sciences.
With a wealth of experience in children’s rights, I have been the foremost advocate for the campaign that “Every child has a right to be educated, regardless of their educational needs/challenges”. I have organized seminars and trainings to advocate early detection and intervention of developmental disorders, particularly Autism.
I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors UK, Nigerian Psychological Association, British Psychological Society and the American Psychological Association. Being the only Certified Autism Specialist in Nigeria has given me an edge in the Healthcare industry. My clients are more confident knowing that their child is being managed by a specialist.
2) How has the CAS credential affected your professional growth?
Currently, I am swamped with children that need specialist care; more hospitals and schools are sending children to me for assessments, as well as educational support.
3) How has your CAS credential been a benefit to your district/ organization/ or employer?
The CAS credential has enabled me to work with the Nigerian government healthcare system, as specialized care for Autistic children is relatively new in Nigeria. I can now provide them with the technical support and experience that has been lacking in the past.
4) How do you like to be recognized, acknowledged and rewarded for a job well done?
By having the opportunity to extend my services throughout Africa as there are so many families that need the support that my company can provide.
5) What is your greatest challenge or roadblock?
African traditions and taboos!! Childhood illnesses are seen as spiritual in nature. It is very difficult to convince the society that you know what you are doing. However, with my CAS credentials I have been able to break the boundaries in mental health care. Hospitals now practice developmental screening because of me. To date, we have developmentally screened over 2000 children for developmental disorders.
6) What makes you feel like a valuable contributor?
Knowing that I am qualified to do what I do and having the certification to back me up. By working with medical professionals, more children are detected early and early intervention services are being provided for the families involved.
7) What do you enjoy most about your job?
Being able to make an impact in the life of a child with Autism.
8) What support, tools/resources, skills or empowerment do you need to be more effective?
I would like more resources to assess children, material to actually teach the children with Autism life skills. I would also like to have more resources for training staff as we do not have the manpower in Nigeria needed to deal with all the cases of children with Autism.
9) What strengths or talents do you possess that aren’t being used?
I would like to be a CAS trainer in Nigeria. To be able to train more CAS specialists will be an honor because I will be setting an International standard that we do not have currently in Nigeria.