Autistic Youth Among National Child Month Committee Honourees


Seventeen year-old Royan Davis is among 14 of the nation’s children, who were recently honoured by the National Child Month Committee (NCMC) for outstanding service to their community.
The young man was greeted with thunderous applause from those who attended the award ceremony at Alhambra Inn in Kingston, as they recognize that his journey in life so far has been fraught with challenges, which he works daily, to overcome.
Royan, like so many children today, is living with autism, a developmental disorder characterized by impairment in social interaction and communication skills.
His mother, Sandra Davis, tells JIS News that his success is rooted in hard work and dedication.
Early intervention and stimulation also played a vital role in dealing with the disorder. This was gained through the Early Stimulation Project, which, since 1975, has fostered the development of children with disabilities from birth to six years, through an internationally accredited programme of early intervention, stimulation and socialization. “The earlier they start the better” Mrs. Davis points out, noting that while under the project, Royan began to improve in the various areas of development. However, this was not without challenges as Royan’s disability seriously impacted on his family, causing much pain, embarrassment and financial strain, due to the fact that the family would often have to compensate for damage to property and other items, caused by Royan.
Today, Royan stands out in his community and at the Amy Bailey Training Centre at the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA), which he attends.
According to his mother, he is very good in academics, practical skills and loves to cook. He even received ‘The Most Improved Student’ award in 2006 with recognition for excellent behaviour. “He has impressed all around him so much and I am so happy and proud of him,” she gushes.
This sociable young man also enjoys playing the keyboards and drums at church. He in fact regaled those present at the awards ceremony with a performance on his keyboards. “He can sing well but he does not like to perform,” his mother says.
For Rayon, the receipt of the award was a happy occasion, as it was his moment to shine and give hope to others who share his disorder. The awardees were: Lori-Ann Mullings, Michiayo Miles, Lenworth Taylor, Sonica Johnson, John A. Gordon, Rajiv Bulgin, Shawnell Rankin, Chantol Hudson, Taina-Shae Rigg, Jovane Pecco, Jadekie McEwan, Basil Jones Jr., and Oral McCleary.
Chairperson of the NCMC, Dr. Pauline Mullings, says that the awardees stand as evidence that the nation is in good hands. “Our committee has been seeking after the nation’s children, who can show Jamaica that the children are going places. We are honouring these14 Jamaicans, who are outstanding in their own right, because they have moved outside of themselves and have given community service,” she informs.
Commenting further on the awardees, Dr. Mullings says that for the first time, the awards were not dominated by students from Kingston. “I feel good. It means that those in rural areas are getting excited and onboard and going places,” she says.
All adults, she points, have the responsibility to mold and shape the minds of children and to also help them to develop to their fullest potential. “I am depending on you all to help the NCMC, the Child Development Agency, the Office of the Children’s Advocate and all the agencies that work with our children,” Dr. Mullings urges. The Community Service Awards was first hosted by the NCMC in 1998, when the committee sought to recognise the efforts of children and young people serving their community. Most importantly, it aims to show appreciation to Jamaica’s young people for their honour, strength and accomplishment in voluntary services.

JIS Social