Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre Observes World Autism Awareness Day 

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ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, April 1, 2022—
 Today the world recognizes and celebrates the rights of individuals with autism. World Autism Awareness Day, established in 2008 by the United Nations, is an international observance to make us mindful of this complex, lifelong developmental disability, which typically appears in early childhood. This year, World Autism Awareness Day is being observed under the theme: Inclusive Quality Education for All.  

With autism identified as one of the world’s fastest-growing developmental disorder, affecting 1 in 100 children according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there’s increasing urgency for intervention and therapy to improve the lives of the people diagnosed and living with this condition—And therefore, the hospital’s advocacy continues. 

 “I think this month gives all in society an opportunity to question ourselves and others about what we’ve done and what is still left to do”, said Dr. Shivon Belle-Jarvis Pediatric Department Chair at Sir Lester Bird Medical. “In my estimation, there is still much work to be done to offer assessment and diagnostic services, to overcome stigma, to train professionals and to make needed services available to persons with autism; never forgetting the support needed by their loved ones”. 

She added; “We want discussions to be more about improving acceptance and increasing action for people with autism. This means more effort in including them in our communities, more specific job coaching programs and more specialized care for those with complex forms of autism, or who have other medical or mental health conditions. Now more than ever, it is important for us to find ways to accept, understand and support individuals with autism and their families in more robust and meaningful ways. Action to get these needs met is the next logical step.” 

“All of us should endeavor to ensure those with autism have what U.N. Secretary General António Guterres calls, “the right to self-determination, independence and autonomy as well as the right to education and employment on an equal basis with others.” 

Join the SLBMC team today, throughout April and beyond, to create awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with autism and other neurodiverse disorders. 

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