JIS News

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security plans to extend its Early Stimulation Programme (ESP) to western Jamaica to reach more children with mental and physical disabilities.
“This early stimulation programme is important and is vital to their survival and we are thinking of setting up another (facility) in western Jamaica for those parents, who can’t get into Kingston with their children so that they can be helped,” said Portfolio Minister Hon. Pearnel Charles.
He was addressing the graduation ceremony for 36 children from the ESP held yesterday (July 21) at his North Street offices.
He stated that the Government is committed to improving the lives of disabled citizens and as such will be doing everything possible to assist them.
“It is important to acknowledge that one day these children will need employment to sustain them and their families as they make a contribution to Jamaica and the world. They must never be denied the chance, they must never be discriminated against and they must never experience any prejudice because they are disabled in one way or the other,” he stated.
He further informed that the Ministry will be supporting disabled children whether financially or otherwise.
“I am recommitting the Ministry to give all the support necessary for these children to go through, whether it is financial and otherwise, as hard as times may be. The Government is also examining ways to upgrade our facilities and push for more specially trained teachers,” he added.
Minister Charles urged fathers to play their part and take responsibility for their disabled child.
“I am also using the opportunity to call on men to be more supportive to the mothers of these children. These children need love, warmth, patience and proper direction, not money,” he pointed out.
He further invited parents with “disabled children in any part of Jamaica, who are in serious problem with them, to get in touch with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.”
The ESP is a special intervention programme, which serves young children with various types of disabilities, with the aim of providing them with an opportunity to reach their maximum potential.
Since its inception in 1975, the ESP has served more than 20,000 children and has placed some 6, 000 in the primary education system. The programme started in Kingston and St. Andrew and is now in St. Catherine, St. Thomas and Portland.
Of the 36 children, who graduated from the programme yesterday, 31 will go on to the special education classes at the primary level and five into the regular school system.

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