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Autism seminar on May 18

Globe Finance is supporting an initiative by the Rotary Club of Barbados to sensitize Barbadians on the challenges facing autistic children and their care-givers.

Today, past president of the Rotary Club of Barbados and chief executive officer of Globe Finance Ron Davis; president of the Rotary Club of Barbados Alex Mc Donald; Vice President, Customer Experience at Sagicor General Tracy Knight; Executive Director of Spectrum Possibilities Deborah Thompson-Smith; psychiatrist Dr Shirley Alleyne, and Child Mental Health Specialist Dr Julie Sealy announced a seminar on Autism for May 18.

Under the theme “Impacting Autism Through Early Intervention”, the seminar will be held at the Cave Hill School of Business.

Giving the background to the Rotary Club’s involvement in the cause of autism, Mc Donald told reporters that in July 2014, the District Governor for Rotary Clubs in District 7030 challenged member clubs in countries stretching from St Kitts/Nevis in the north to Suriname in the south, to champion the autistic child in some way.

McDonald disclosed that Rotary members subsequently found out that the District Governor, who is a citizen of Suriname, has an 18 year-old autistic son. McDonald said prior to taking up the challenge, Rotary Club in Barbados had been investing “time, money, energy and care” in the School House for Special Needs over the past four years, raising $400 000 during the period.

Dr Alleyne, who is scheduled to speak on the topic: “What is Autism?” at the seminar, stressed that if there is professional intervention in the early stages, the child has a greater chance of maximizing on its potential. She disclosed that by the time a child is six to eight months, a trained person can pick up signs and symptoms that may indicate if there is risk of developing autism.

Knight told members of the press that President of the Senate, Kerry-Ann Ifill, who suffers from a disability, will deliver the feature address at the seminar. Knight, who is the mother of an autistic child, also disclosed that speech and language therapists will make presentations.

Davis said Globe Finance does not sponsor sporting activities but contributes to any campaign which seeks to improve the quality of life of challenged persons.        

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