Tue | Aug 22, 2017

IGT assists Mustard Seed centre

Published:Wednesday | June 22, 2016 | 6:00 AM
Contributed Photo A section of the newly equipped computer lab opened on June 16, by IGT at Mustard Seed’s Gift of Hope in Mandeville. Three computers, one printer and a touch screen monitor were provided by IGT as part of the company’s After School Advantage Programme. This is the 13th IGT equipped computer lab opened in Jamaica.
Contributed Photo Caregiver at Gift of Hope 'Auntie' Caitlyn Day, helps a young one to use one of the computers donated by IGT as part of its After School Advantage Programme.
Contributed PhotoTash, a resident of Gift of Hope, is assisted with making her handprint by caregiver ‘Auntie’ Millicent Langley (right) as Debbie Green, general manager of IGT Jamaica looks on. The occasion was the June 16 opening of IGT’s After-School Advantage Centre at Mustard Seed Communities’ Gift of Hope in Mandeville.
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Lottery technology provider, IGT, recently opened an After School Advantage Centre equipped with three computers, a touch-screen monitor, a printer, online technology and software at the Mustard Seed Communities' Gift of Hope Centre in Mandeville.

"At Gift of Hope, we care for 19 residents, seven of whom are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and they will be the main beneficiaries of the computers donated by IGT," said Ann-Marie Parker-Dale, administrator at Gift of Hope.

"These very special children, who range in age from three to 14, will be assisted through the use of specialised software that will help them to communicate in other ways as they are non-verbal. We will also use the computer lab to help develop their social skills to enable better social integration and to develop their visual skills, fine and gross motor skills, attention span and provide music therapy," she added.

ASD is a developmental disorder which affects one in every 68 children with symptoms generally appearing before the age of three. The developmental disorder can be associated with physical health issues, intellectual disability, challenges with motor coordination and attention span, as well as difficulty in communicating and relating to others. Many of those on the autism spectrum display exceptional abilities in music, visual skills and academics.

"Almost all the Gift of Hope children who are on the ASD spectrum have shown abilities in music or art, and we are looking forward to developing their unique talents with help from the computer lab," said Parker-Dale. Gift of Hope is located in Spur Tree, Manchester, on two acres of land at 2000-feet above sea level, providing a therapeutic environment. Gift of Hope caters to children and adults with special needs; most are affected by hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy and microcephaly.

"IGT is proud to continue our partnership with the Mustard Seed Communities as they strive to provide quality care and a nurturing environment for their residents. We are especially pleased that we are able to work with these very special children by providing technology that will enrich their lives. Mustard Seed has become a strong support system in the special-needs community, and it is truly humbling to be able to assist in their efforts," said Debbie Green, general manager of IGT, Jamaica.