JIS News

The Early Stimulation Programme (ESP) in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security celebrates its 30th anniversary this month, and a number of activities have been planned to mark the milestone.
Programme Director, Antonica Gunter Gayle, at a recent JIS News Think Tank, outlined the series of events to mark the anniversary, which will be observed from September 28 to November 11, under the theme: ‘Recognizing the past, celebrating the present and developing the future’.
She noted that the events were primarily geared towards educating the public on how to care for and nurture pre-school children with disabilities and would include speaking engagements at health centres islandwide from September 28 to November 4. These sessions are targeted at pregnant and lactating mothers, who will be educated on the causes, signs and how to prevent disabilities among pre-school children.
In addition, a thanksgiving service will be held at the Webster Memorial United Church on Half-Way-Tree Road on November 6 and on November 7, a forum on disability will be held at the Alhambra Inn.
State Minister for Labour and Social Security, Senator Floyd Morris and Dr. Molly Thorbourne, Consultant for children with disabilities, are the scheduled speakers at the forum, which will include discussions on policies relating to persons with disabilities and special education for children with disabilities.
On November 10, the ESP will honour persons, who have worked with the programme for over 10 years, at an awards luncheon slated for the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
Activities culminate on November 11 with an open day for parents at the ESP’s offices at 95 Hanover Street. The event will give parents the opportunity to display and showcase their skills to entrepreneurs and other business interests, who may offer employment.
The ESP fosters the development of children with disabilities from birth to six years. This is done through an internationally accredited programme of early intervention, stimulation and socialization. Since its inception in 1975, the ESP has benefited some 11,500 children with disabilities and this year, 300 children have been enrolled in the programme.