The Ministry of Labour and Social Security is making it easier for children with disabilities in rural communities to access the services of the Early Stimulation Programme (ESP).
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Collette Roberts-Risden, told JIS News that a mobile unit is being retrofitted to facilitate assessment and registration of children.
“That particular bus is being specially retrofitted so the physiotherapist can do assessment of the child and we can do sessions with the parents to teach them how to stimulate the motor skills for children with disabilities,” Mrs. Roberts-Risden said.
“From a financial perspective it is not always feasible to set up offices with staff. In the meantime, we will be using a bus to take the ESP services out to parents in the rural areas. We also have many parents who are registered with ESP, but because of financial difficulties and the distance they have to travel are unable to travel to Kingston or Portland to access these services,” she noted.
Mrs. Roberts-Risden was speaking with JIS News at the commissioning of two mobile units to promote the Ministry’s services in rural areas, with initial focus on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) and the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).
The function was held at the Ministry’s downtown Kingston offices on Thursday (July 9).
The ESP, a programe under the Ministry, provides early stimulation and intervention for children birth to six years old with developmental disabilities.
Presently, the ESP services are concentrated in Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine, and Portland.