The achievements and talents of students with special needs were showcased at a Disabilities Awareness Exposition, hosted by the Special Education Unit of the Ministry of Education, at its Caenwood Centre location in Kingston on November 28.
The event was held as part of Disability Awareness Week, which is being observed from November 25 to December 3, and sought to highlight the work of the students and celebrate their achievements, as part of the process of removing the barriers that negatively impact their personal, social and economic advancement.
A lunch hour concert, which featured the wide range of talents of students with disabilities, was also held as part of the day’s event.
Assistant Chief Education Officer in charge of the Unit, June Hamilton, told JIS News that the division decided to stage the exposition “to create awareness so that the public will realize that if we enable these students, they can make worthwhile contributions to the overall development of the society”.
She noted that the schools participating in the expo are based in Kingston and St. Andrew, but expressed the hope that over time, the event will be extended to include the participation of institutions in other parishes.
Executive Director, Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD), Christine Hendricks, commended the Special Education Unit for advancing efforts to ensure that children with special needs are being accommodated and provided with much needed support in various institutions designed to assist them.
Ms. Hendricks, who spoke on behalf of Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, said the Ministry would continue to partner with the Ministry of Education in assisting students with special needs to ensure that they get an equal opportunity to be educated.
She further encouraged Jamaicans to help remove the barriers that handicap persons with disabilities “and particularly our children with special needs, and open the door so that they can maximise their God-given potential”.
Special education schools, units and agencies mounted display booths highlighting the work of persons with disabilities.
Booth holders included: Edgehill School of Special Education; Randolph Lopez School of Hope; Carberry Court Special School; Genesis Academy and Skills Training Centre; Promise Learning Centre; the Salvation Army School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Children; and JCPD.