JIS News

Director of Social Security in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Collette Roberts-Risden is encouraging parents who have children with disabilities to give them more support, as this would assist them to function better in the society.
Speaking at the Early Stimulation Programme annual graduation exercise, held at the Ministry’s North Street offices yesterday (July 18), she said that most times parents would want to have the “perfect child.”
“As parents, when you have children, a lot of times you want to have the perfect child, but then you know that there is perfection in every child, no matter how they are born,” Mrs. Roberts-Risden said.
“I am sure many of you are quite happy and pleased to see that after these years of working with the children, how far they have progressed,” she added.
The Early Stimulation Programme is a special intervention, which serves young children with various types of developmental disabilities, with the aim of providing them the opportunity to reach their maximum potential.
This year, 30 children with severe mental and physical disabilities enrolled in the programme and have now reached a level where they can function in the formal education system. Of this number, 24 will register for special primary education and six in the regular school system.
Faith Innerarity, Chief Technical Director in the Ministry also encouraged parents not to give up on their children with disabilities.
She pointed out that the first three years of a child were very critical in terms of personality development, development of the brain and their learning capabilities.
“Many persons really underestimate the importance of early childhood education and its impact on future learning and one’s life chances. So, for the children with disabilities, it is even more important, bearing in mind the challenges they face,” Mrs. Innerarity said.
The Chief Technical Director also noted that persons with disabilities could contribute to society on an equal basis with others.
“The fact of having a disability does not mean that you cannot contribute to the development of your society,” Mrs. Innerarity stressed.
She also congratulated the parents whose children graduated from the Early Stimulation Programme.
“Gone are the days when you had a disabled child and you felt embarrassed that this was somehow some failure on your part. Parents, continue to support your children, your support is very important, and if you ensure that they get the quality education, that will prepare them for life,” Mrs. Innerarity urged. 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 of age.

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