Mon | Nov 29, 2021

Programme launched to assist children living with disabilities in St James

Published:Friday | March 12, 2021 | 11:22 AM
The programme will target 40 students facing academic difficulties and behavioural problems.

The Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College in Montego Bay, St James, in collaboration with the Kiwanis Club of Montego Freeport, has launched its Learning Disabilities Awareness Programme.

This is geared towards increasing awareness, diagnosis, and treatment of children living with disabilities in St James and neighbouring parishes.

The programme will target 40 students facing academic difficulties and behavioural problems.

From this group of 40 students, who will undergo psychoeducational assessment, 20 students will participate in group behavioural modification sessions, while the parents of these children will receive parent training to learn principles of behaviour management.

At the virtual media launch on Thursday, Education Minister, Fayval Williams, commended the team for the public-private partnership, noting that the intervention is a welcome move in the Ministry’s efforts to provide more resources to assist the approximately 10,000 students from kindergarten to grade 13 with diagnosed disabilities across the island.

“The Sam Sharpe Diagnostic and Early Intervention Centre is of particular importance, in keeping with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information’s thrust to support the efforts to provide psychoeducational assessment, treatment, and training to individuals who are in need of such services,” she outlined.

She also noted that the cadre of services to be provided is well in line with the mandate of the Ministry’s Special Education Unit.

“I am especially pleased with the range of specialised services that will support parents and caregivers of children with special needs, in particular, with the aim of identifying 40 students per year for assessment and offer psychotherapy services to at least 20 of that number. The Ministry’s Special Education Unit, which has the responsibility to supervise special education schools and units islandwide that are government-owned or government-aided, and those that receive special grants, stands ready to offer any support you need,” she noted.

For his part, President of the Kiwanis Club of Montego Freeport, Dr Romarno Forrester, outlined that the programme will be broadened to include sensitisation sessions to be held with 100 teachers within the western region.

“This will allow for the early identification, assessment and diagnosis and treatment of future cohorts of students. [Additionally], at the end of this year’s programme, the identified students will be followed up for at least five years. During this follow-up, we will try to give support in whatever capacity we can. We also intend to commence a five-year research for publication,” Forrester noted.

The Learning Disabilities Awareness programme is slated to commence before the end of March, and interested persons can send an email to samsharpediacentre@samsharpe.edu.jm for more information.

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.