UTech students raising funds for autism awareness
In commemoration of Autism Awareness Week, event marketing students from the University of Technology (UTech) have partnered with the Jamaica Autism Awareness Support Association (JASA) to host a luncheon tomorrow.
Scheduled for Pollyanna Caterer's in St Andrew, the event will be held under the theme 'Autism is a World: Reach. Connect. Empower' and culminates with a number of fundraising events towards the cause.
The guest speaker will be Dr Andrea Garbutt, developmental paediatrician, who will be addressing the issue of autism in Jamaica.
Since 2006, JASA has been playing its part to raise awareness about autism in Jamaica; assist in research on the prevalence of the mental condition; and advocate for action, intervention, accommodations and solutions.
JASA has been fighting for tax relief for autism individuals and families affected, as well as early screening free health care; occupational, speech and physical therapy; and psychiatric and psychological care.
The organisation is also advocating for subsidised education (parents to only pay the same as all others, no extra for special care), funding, training and support.
Another goal is to have an education system in Jamaica that is inclusive for all children.
Additional funding for JASA will go a far way in expanding the annual workshops and seminars for parents and professionals to rural areas; as well as aid in development and production of materials for parents and professionals (particular educators), similar to that developed by advocacy groups in other parts of the world, but tailored to the Jamaican situation.
"These initiatives will allow our parents to have appropriate guidance in managing their children and allow educators to learn more about classroom strategies, therefore ensuring more inclusive education for Jamaican autistic children," noted a spokesperson for JASA.