Rotary Club moving to improve autistic individuals’ lives

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The Rotary Club of Antigua is striving to improve the lives of autistic individuals in the twin island state, through training sessions, raising public awareness about autism and other developments.
An autism walk on April 7 by the club will be used to raise awareness about the developmental disorder. Making the public more sensitive and aware of the disorder creates a better environment for those with autism, said the Club’s public relations officer (PRO), Salma Crump on OBSERVER AM.
The club is hoping to have a thousand or more walkers at the event. Registration for the walk will be held tomorrow and Friday at the Rotary House on Factory road. The walk is approximately seven miles and will start at 5 o’clock in the morning.
“We are planning toward helping to make schools and health care better for individuals with autism by increasing the level of intervention available here. We are trying to work with agencies to fund different autism programmes. I think definitely these are the things that can help and what we need more of,” Crump expressed.
This also benefits families, children and loved ones of those with autism, added the club’s president, Diana Browne. “We have a plan for how we want to see
autism awareness in Antigua. We are very pleased by the response and commitment of the public to the cause. We are very happy,” Browne stated.
The PRO said that people have become more aware and have reached out to the club, but there is a lot more to be done.
“Where we are right now is trying to go beyond raising awareness, to seeing what can be done to improve the condition,” Crump informed.
She further explained that the club’s desire is to give people direct help and solutions, because that’s what everybody wants.
 “We are moving into the second phase of our autism programme. Later this month we’re going to start training individuals. The training will commence again later in the year. Well experienced autism trainers, speech language pathologists as well as an occupational therapist will offer training to teachers, nurses, doctors, clinicians and others to help them better deal with persons in society who are autistic,” Browne revealed.
The club’s president highlighted that this is great for interested participants who deal with children.
Crump explained that this is good because if you can diagnose it early you are better able to help individuals with autism.
“We are going to have a special session with parents who may have autistic children. I think there has been an increase in children with autism but there are no clear statistics to show,” she added.
Funding is received from various sponsors.
The club plans to work with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health.

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