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JIS News

A registry is to be established for all children with special needs, says Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier.

The Minister said the registry will provide data on the number of children who require assistance under the Ministry’s Early Stimulation Programme.

“We have to focus on the children (with special needs), as they are human beings just like anyone else and they have to be given a chance in life to fulfill their full potential. We will be embarking on a very serious programme during the coming financial year to ensure that we lift the standards  of all and see to the protection of these vulnerable people,” he told JIS News, following a tour of the Stimulation Plus Early Childhood Development Centre in Kingston, on April  26.

In the meantime, the Minister is urging the private sector to support the Ministry’s Early Stimulation Programme, as that  will help to change the lives of more children with special needs.

“We would like to see the private sector companies all over the country making some more contribution by adopting initiatives that are being proposed by the centre. We really want to get the entire country mobilised around this effort to protect the vulnerable,” he said.

The Centre evolved out of the Labour Ministry’s Early Stimulation Programme, which began in 1975 and provides developmental assessment and early intervention for children from birth to six years, who exhibit some form of developmental delay.

The centre caters to 105 special needs students living with disabilities, such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, behavioural problems and mental retardation, among others.