Wellness Centre offers autism awareness training

| 15/09/2010

(CNS): All pre-school teachers and public health nurses are invited to learn more about autism spectrum disorders at a training session this month provided free through a partnership between the Ministry of Education, Training and Employment and The Wellness Centre. The developmental disabilities and autism awareness training start 23 September, in the George Town Library Conference Room from 9:00am to 12 noon. Thereafter they are scheduled for the first and third Thursday of each month, between October 2010 and March 2011. Training will focus on improving overall autism awareness and will give participants the necessary knowledge to recognise early warning signs.

The referral process for children exhibiting autism-like symptoms will also be outlined.

Noting that his ministry’s focus on professionals who work with young children is a strategic one, Education Minister Rolston Anglin said,” These individuals are the first point of contact for most children and the ministry believes that they can play important roles in shaping the community’s response to autism. The programme was developed because it came to my ministry’s attention that we were unable to properly identify kids with autism spectrum disorders. As such we do not know the numbers with which we are dealing and cannot offer appropriate services such as speech and language, occupational, or behaviour modification services.”

Autism, the abbreviated name for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), is a group of developmental brain disorders that can cause significant social, behavioural and communication challenges. It affects each person differently, and can range from very mild to severe. However, persons with ASDs do share common symptoms such as problems with social interaction, repeat behaviours such as twirling fingers, flapping arms or wringing hands, and they may experience intense areas of interest.

According to the US-based Centre for Disease Control, the prevalence of autism is estimated at one in 150. Research has found that early identification and intervention are key factors in helping to ensure the best possible outcome for children with ASD.

Pre-school teachers and public health nurses are encouraged to call the Wellness Centre on 949-9355 or email info@wellnesscentre.ky for registration information.

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