Autistic Children and their parents participated in the launch of World Autism Awareness Month in Rawson Square – which kicked off with the light it up blue ceremony – hosted by the resources and education for autism and related challenges. Parents say REACH has provided them with support and educational materials on autism so they won’t give up on their children.
Parent Kim Gibson says “well, my son is 15 now. He was diagnosed at the age of two and the challenges most parents face with children on the spectrum is the fact that there are very few therapists here to cater to the needs of children with cases of autism. In the country right now there are approximately three speech therapists that basically work with a population of 350,000 people. So there is a great need for more speech therapists. There is a need for more behavioral therapists and occupational therapists.”
Another parent Shanaenae Davis remarked “My son is eight years old now and I saw changes in my son at the age of two and since that said time, I’ve been an advocate for autism and related challenges. Like you know I said there is still a stigma attached. persons still think it is taboo to have a special needs child but bring your children out. Early intervention is best and it is now one in every 68 based on the studies we’ve been doing research with the center for disease control of America.
Jackie Whylly Hilton says caring for an autistic child like her son William can require some assistance – which she receives from the Department of Social Services – but getting that help wasn’t easy. Hilton says “I had lost my job and I asked Social Services to help in terms of giving me the monthly stipend to get William his grocery, his lunch. He is not a fussy eater. he is not a fussy person and it really was a struggle.” However – Oswald Rolle had this advice for parents of autistic children. “be strong. Some days are going to be better than others, but cherish the great days and it will be more better days than bad days. Continue to be encouraged, continue to have a support group.”
The ceremony climaxed with the sounds of the Bahamas all-star band and the lighting of Rawson square and parliament square in blue.