Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis Tuesday(April 3) commended REACH Bahamas for the “tremendous work” the organization has done over the years in promoting awareness with regards to Autism in The Bahamas. Autism is a complex, neurological disorder that typically lasts throughout an individual’s lifetime. Approximately 67 million persons worldwide are affected by Autism, which is the world’s fastest-growing serious developmental disability. The disorder is characterized by varying degrees of impairment in communication skills and social abilities and also by repetitive behaviors. Symptoms range from very mild to severe. There is no cure for autism, but early diagnosis and intervention improves outcomes.
Research shows that autism occurs in all racial, ethnic and social groups and is four times more common in boys than in girls. Addressing the 6th Annual Light It Up Blue Ceremony held in Rawson Square (Tuesday, April 3) in recognition of Autism Awareness Month, Prime Minister Minnis said with appropriate specialized education and behavioral and biomedical interventions, coupled with an understanding community and adequate support services, most individuals with autism can become productive citizens. Early intervention is the key. “Given what we know about Autism, it is critical that as a country, we do all in our power to assist the individuals and families affected by Autism,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “In this vein, I commend REACH, a non-governmental agency, for the tremendous work they have done over the years in promoting awareness.
Prime Minister Minnis assured persons attending the ceremony of his Government’s continued support in helping to address Autism in The Bahamas. The Prime Minister said the ceremony provided more public awareness about Autism. “This evening, we are here in historic Rawson Square, to promote greater awareness in our community about Autism and its impact on affected individuals,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “I am always pleased to embrace events which afford an opportunity to publicly recognize and endorse civic and social organizations that meet a critical need in The Bahamas. The government has its role, but civil society also plays an essential role in national development and addressing a range of issues that require public/private partnerships. “REACH, an advocacy and support group of those with Autism, provides impressive leadership and assistance to families, schools and the community. My Government is grateful to those who champion the cause for improved conditions on behalf of those affected by Autism. “Let me again thank REACH and its leaders for the important work you do. It is good to be here with you in solidarity. I wish you continued success in your critical work,” Prime Minister Minnis said.