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Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Andrew Gallimore, has informed that he has written to Permanent Secretaries, asking them to recommit to the convention, of reserving up to five per cent of jobs in each Ministry for qualified persons with disabilities.
“I believe that we have a responsibility as a people and as a Government, to make every effort to provide every opportunity for those amongst us who are the most vulnerable,” Mr. Gallimore said.
The State Minister was speaking at the Early Stimulation Programme graduation and school leaving ceremony, held on August 13, at the Ministry’s North Street offices.
He also urged the private sector to give opportunities, to persons with disabilities, once they have been properly trained to carry out their functions.
“I am not talking about charity; I am saying to you, for any one of these children here, it may take them 10 hours to learn what another child who doesn’t have their disability would learn in 10 minutes. But if they are willing to make that effort, they must be rewarded when they complete that task,” the State Minister argued.
Meanwhile, Mr. Gallimore implored parents not to compare their children with others, but instead, ” to work with them to be the best they can be. It doesn’t matter what that best is, as long as it is the best that they can be, that is all we must require of them.”
“I assure you that the Ministry will be playing its part to advance the cause of persons with disabilities, and try to take that whole movement to a different level, to ensure that there is full participation,” Mr. Gallimore said.
Forty two students, who participated in the Early Stimulation Programme, graduated at the ceremony.
The Early Stimulation Programme is an extension of the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities, that provides an assessment and early intervention programme for children with disabilities from birth to six years old.
Clients in the programme are served from across the island, but the concentration of work is in the Kingston and St. Andrew metropolitan area, and Portmore.
The programme offers services, such as: professional identification and assessment of developmental disabilities in pre-school children; formulation and implementation of specific intervention programmes catering to the individual needs of children, with the assistance of parents; providing home-based teaching, in order to minimise the need for institutionalised care; and providing a resource centre to other agencies serving young children by providing consultations, referrals, intervention programmes, and parent training.
The programme targets children who are multi-disabled, intellectually challenged, mentally retarded, visually or hearing impaired and physically challenged, and children with behavioural problems; cultural familiar retardation; attention deficit disorder; autism; cerebral palsy; and down syndrome.