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UPDATE: New Autism Centre officially opened

- Challenging start overcome by warm community welcome
A student cutting the ribbon at the opening of the Autism Centre today, October 29, 2012 in the presence of Minister for Health and Social Development Hon. Ronnie Skelton (left) and Minister for Education and Culture Hon. Myron V. Walwyn. Photo: VINO
The new Autism Centre is located at the Rainbow Children's Home in Lower Estate. Photo: VINO
The new Autism Centre is located at the Rainbow Children's Home in Lower Estate. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – After overcoming brief challenges settling into their new location, the new Autism Centre was officially opened to mild fanfare and much encouragement today, October 29, 2012 at the Rainbow Children’s Home in Lower Estate.

Ms Lorna Dawson, Programme Director at the Centre, thanked the residents of Lower Estate who helped to ease their concerns in settling into the location by assisting around the centre and helping with moving clients of the centre around.

She noted that the aim at the Centre was to “provide whatever intervention is needed, whether you’re low-functioning, you’re high-functioning or you’re in-between.”

Ms Dawson said that the Centre will be catering to children as well as adults and stated that there were currently five adults attending regular sessions at the centre and the numbers were expected to increase.

She commended the staff for their good work in helping to prepare the centre and getting it ready in time for the opening.

The new Autism Centre was designed to facilitate the learning needs of persons, particularly those with autism and persons having severe challenges with their communication skills.

The facility includes a classroom, kitchen, laundry room and an observation room and according to Government, attendees of the programme will be engaged in other activities as part of their person-centered plan developed to help improve their quality of life.

The Rainbow Children's Home was chosen to pilot an autism project for the Virgin Islands through collaboration with the United Kingdom's Kingwood Trust and a financier agreement with the Maria Holder Memorial Trust based in Barbados.

On April 24, 2012 Government inked contracts with both groups through which Maria Holder Memorial Trust would have provided US$381,529 for the establishment of the programme and Kingwood Trust would have provided specialist support and training.

“Parents, caregivers and professionals now have an avenue in which to learn and become better equipped to cater to the needs of the autism population in the BVI. My Government is keen to begin this new direction with a sense of renewed hope for children as well as adults with autism,” Premier Dr. The Honourable D. Orlando Smith had said in April.

Honourable Smith had also said that Government recognised that autism is a growing challenge and encouraged the public to support each other whenever possible, adding, “We recognise that the well-being of the differently-able population is crucial to their own personal development and overall in building a better Virgin Islands for all.”

Meanwhile, Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon. Ronnie Skelton had said the autism programme would be offered free to persons and would initially run for a period of 18 to 24 months.

Government, he said, would provide the necessary funding and support for the project, including renovating and enhancing the Rainbow Home.

It was pointed out at the time that there are some 8 adults and 25 children diagnosed with autism.

20 Responses to “UPDATE: New Autism Centre officially opened”

  • Mother Hen (28/10/2012, 10:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    this decisions is a good one no one can say its either shortsighted or made for other reasons best known to the decision-makers....big up to the NDP on this one!
  • george w. touch (28/10/2012, 11:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I commend the government on this initiative
    • my two cents (28/10/2012, 13:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      While I will join in on the big ups to the government on this I hope its not a half bake project and the facility will provide for their all-round development by lighting the spark in the minds of the children, by empowering the parents to fan the flames and by teaching all the skills – intellectual, vocational, social, spiritual and emotional – they can master.
    • long road (29/10/2012, 07:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      WOW it's a very good first step to the NDP changing gears and helping the needy
      • lost (29/10/2012, 09:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        YOU PEOPLE ARE JUST EMBARASSING YOURSELF HERE.
        THE BLOG IS FOR GENUINE COMMENTS - NOT PR FOR ANY POLITICAL PARTY. GET LOST
  • Sing a Song (28/10/2012, 18:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Just look at what it took to get this done. SMDH!
  • parent (28/10/2012, 23:39) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Thanks for this
  • janet williams (29/10/2012, 14:16) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Myron your moves these days is statesmanlike and what some may call the softer image...keep it up
    • Jack be still (29/10/2012, 14:35) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      TO: janet williams; A leopard cannot change its spots. Ideas trumps image every time. In politics when you have no ideas or a platform to stand on, you change your image
    • street man (29/10/2012, 14:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Softer as sheep's wool but he's still a WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING!!
      • GoonSquad (29/10/2012, 21:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        and you are "black panty with an angel face" Give the people them their props...Good work NDP
    • leave the child (29/10/2012, 19:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      ayo keep off poor myron the man is still trying to find his 'niche', he has only now realised that he is elected and is a minister...
    • @ janet williams (30/10/2012, 08:39) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      If you put lipstick on a pig....it will still be a pig.....
  • good to great (29/10/2012, 17:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    It is not a Quick fix but the autism centre is a good start
  • Buh-Deh (29/10/2012, 20:14) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Kudos, this is a great move that was much long overdue. I just wished more of our buildings were handicap friendly.
  • kevin (29/10/2012, 23:43) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    There are subtle signs of autism if you just look for them," said neuroscientist Karen Pierce of the University of California, San Diego, who led the study. "Let's just get these kids detected early and treated early."

    Recent data suggest about 1 in 100 US children has some form of autism, which ranges from mild to severe problems with behaviour, communication and socialisation....something to think about people
  • dddd (15/05/2017, 15:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    i am from Guyana my son is special need how could get help my son in this country .Guyana no have those facilities that will be a great help of my son


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