September Marks Historic Opening of St. Kitts-Nevis First Autism Services Centre

(EMU) – St. Kitts, September 5 2018: Children with autism in St. Kitts and Nevis and their families will receive enhanced care and resources thanks to the opening of the St. Kitts Spectrum Services Centre on Tuesday 4, September.

The St. Kitts Spectrum Services Centre is located at the Industrial Site Pre-School, the Centre will deliver screenings and early diagnostic services to children and their families.

Over the past four years the Ministry of Education has partnered with Dr. Sheryl Rosin to assist children who were suspected to be on the autism spectrum. Tuesday 4th September, saw the realization of Dr. Rosin’s vision to provide screening and on-going care for families with children with autism in St. Kitts.

The early intervention service will be performed by certified trained individuals.

“Born from the passion of a few key individuals to connect people with a purpose of helping others so that children with autism could have the much needed assistance they deserve from trained individuals in the community.”Dr. Sheryl Rosin stated during her remarks, while thanking her inspiration for the centre, Mathieu Marshall and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Verral Marshall.“With autism being one percent of the world’s population it’s the fastest growing developmental disorder in the world, and St. Kitts and Nevis is not protected from this disorder.”

She commended the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis for sharing this vision with her and implored them to continue the development of the special education services.

“I have diagnosed 58 children on island, demonstrating the vast need for the centre and hopefully an expansion into a large scale childhood rehabilitation centre, where children with developmental disorders outside of autism can also get assistance,” she said.
Minister of State within the Ministry of Health, Hon. Wendy Phipps echoed sentiments on behalf of her ministry.

“In life in St. Kitts and Nevis and the rest of the world, it is about adopting a spirit of tolerance and inclusiveness, especially with persons who we deem as being different,” Hon. Wendy Phipps said, while congratulating the Ministry of Education and all stakeholders for playing an instrumental role in the opening of the centre. “The message we (Ministry of Health) would like to send to the general public is that illnesses, disorders and diseases can happen to anybody. We owe it to our citizens, colleagues and residents to put things in place that recognize differences and appreciate the diversity in differences. Look towards the solutions that we can bring.”

Minister of Education, Hon. Shawn Richards, addressed the audience and also thanked all who played a part in ensuring that the centre was established.
“It is no accident that the Ministry of Education has embraced the expansion of special education services to provide services for children with autism,” Minister Richards said. “The autism project is one that demonstrates the power of partnership. My Ministry continues to provide financial resources to ensure the development of this worthwhile initiative, designed to support the social, emotional and educational wellbeing of this category of our student population with special needs.”

“There is no doubt in our minds that the opening of this facility is a significant one, an event that will change the educational landscape of our country as it serves the many families who will receive treatment here,” assured the Minister.

Key individuals that were also in attendance were the Minister of Health et al, Hon. Eugene Hamilton; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, William Hodge; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Mrs. Delores Stapleton-Harris; Reverend Hilton Joseph; and Mrs. Josephine Claxton Richardson, Director of the Spectrum Services Centre.

The Ministry of Education, recognizing the invaluable contribution that many individuals and organizations made over the past four years would like to express its sincere thanks and appreciation to the following individuals: Dr. Sheryl Rosin and family; Mr. and Mrs. Verral Marshall; Dr. Warren Ross and Michelle Peres of the University of Medicine and Health Sciences; Mr. John Zuliani of the Royal St. Kitts Hotel; Rotary Club of Liamigua St. Kitts; Paediatric Assistance League of St. Kitts (PALS); Christophe Habour Foundation; Source Relief; US Embassy in Barbados, through USAID; Cathleen McFarlance Foundation Inc.; Mickey’s Hope; and America Speech-Language Hearing Foundation.

The new centre is a significant achievement for the Government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis, providing improved care for children with autism, ultimately resulting in less stress for their families and understanding and acceptance from the general public. The Ministry of Education hopes to continue joint partnerships from non-governmental organizations in the near future.

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