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Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Mike Henry, says the Early Stimulation Programme continues to play a critical role in ensuring that young children zero to six years old with developmental disabilities are stimulated, rehabilitated and empowered through early intervention strategies and techniques.

He noted that centre-based and community-based rehabilitation in more than 200 communities across the island is being provided under this programme.

“The aim is to assist these children to reach their highest potential and to transition into a programme that will facilitate their specific learning and developmental need,” Mr. Henry said.

He was making his contribution to the 2020/21 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on July 21.

The Early Stimulation Programme presently serves 3,017 children islandwide, which includes 103 private and public early-childhood institutions as well as Faith-based organisations.

Last year, 186 children transitioned from the programme into mainstream schools and special education programmes.

Training was also provided for more than 170 parents that helped them to develop coping skills and strategies in caring for their children with disabilities.

Mr. Henry said for 2020 the Ministry will expand the early intervention services in St. Ann, St. Mary and Trelawny, through the use of the mobile unit; and provide training in coping skills and strategies for an additional 200 parents and caregivers of children with special needs or disabilities.

The Ministry will also increase the engagement of specialised personnel to cater to the developmental needs of young children with disabilities and expand partnerships with private-sector agencies to enhance the intervention services for young children with disabilities.

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