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TCI: World Autism Day, April 2, 2019, “Assistive Technologies, Active Participation

#Providenciales, April 1, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – The United Nations, Secretary-General, Antonia Guterres, stated in his release that, “On World Autism Awareness Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to promote the full participation of all people with autism, and ensure they have the necessary support to be able to exercise their rights and fundamental freedoms.”

The Center for Disease Control defines, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as  a developmental disability  that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged.

In the Turks & Caicos Islands, emphasis has been placed on the registration of individuals with special needs; this allows for effective planning and execution of programs.  There are 62 persons registered with the Special Needs Unit with autism consisting of 50 males and 12 females; being the largest group represented on the National Registry of Persons with Special Needs.  Much has been accomplished through partnership such as ongoing collaboration with various partners both national and international. One such partnership with the 1 World Foundation has resulted in on the ground care with three visits a year to the TCI for assessment of children with developmental delays, inclusive of a visiting Speech and Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Behavioral Therapist and Neuro-physiologist.  This has allowed many to experience services never previously offered domestically with on the ground diagnosis, thus providing a greater degree of accessibility to services.  

Ms. Betty-Ann Been, the Director of Special Needs Unit, stated; “There have been challenges such as the recruitment of in country therapists; it is anticipated that the posts will be filled shortly. Our quest is for all children with special needs be given equal opportunities, embracing their differences through educational as well as social inclusion and employment opportunities”.

The Hon. Edwin Astwood, Minister of Health, Agriculture and Human Service of the Turks & Caicos stated; “My Government is committed to the development of children with special needs, thus a school for children with special needs is forth coming for this financial year 2019/2020 for Grand Turk in addition to an Autism Policy to ensure inclusion.”

For any additional information you can contact the Special Needs Unit on 649-338-2171 (GDT), 649-941-3187 (PLS). 

Persons are encouraged to wear BLUE to support the cause, the international colour for Autism.

Press Release: TCIG

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