Costly ven­ture, more sup­port needed

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Syranno.baines@glean­erjm.com

OUT­SPO­KEN PAR­ENT Michael McKen­zie, fa­ther of a six-year-old who suf­fers from autism, said that he would con­tinue to aid both par­ents and chil­dren fol­low­ing his son’s de­par­ture from the MLSS Early Stim­u­la­tion Pro­gramme. He also used the plat­form to ap­peal to Govern­ment to do more.

“It’s a costly ven­ture, and it takes a lot out of par­ents who al­ready have to cope with so much emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally. So, it would bring some re­lief if the Govern­ment could pro­vide any fur­ther as­sis­tance. I might have it a lit­tle eas­ier, but it’s not the same for other par­ents.”

Speak­ing at Wed­nes­day’s tran­si­tion ex­er­cise, Zavia Mayne, state min­is­ter in the MLSS, re­it­er­ated the Govern­ment’s com­mit­ment to the ed­u­ca­tional ad­vance­ment of the coun­try’s most vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren at all lev­els.

Where dis­abil­i­ties are con­cerned, the min­istry is com­mit­ted to the in­te­gra­tion, in­clu­sion and em­pow­er­ment of all per­sons, and this was one such pro­gramme, Mayne said. He fur­ther com­mended par­ents for their com­mit­ment and en­cour­aged them to con­tinue car­ing for their chil­dren.

“Cer­tainly, we’re ex­tend­ing our­selves, as a Govern­ment, for them (par­ents) to reach out to the dif­fer­ent pro­grammes within the min­istry that will as­sist them go­ing for­ward, be it the Pro­gramme for Ad­vance­ment Through Health and Ed­u­ca­tion, Ja­maica Coun­cil for Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties or the Abil­i­ties Foun­da­tion,” said the state min­is­ter.

BROWN/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER PHO­TOS BY RU­DOLPH

Tame­sha Gra­ham (left) at­tends to son Zi­dane Ben­nett while Murlin McCalla (sec­ond left), su­per­vi­sor, looks on at the an­nual tran­si­tion ex­er­cise for stu­dents in the Early Stim­u­la­tion Pro­gramme at The Apos­tolic Church of Ja­maica in cen­tral Kingston on Wed­nes­day.

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