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Prime Minister King announces special assistance to special needs children

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Contact:  Claudia Monlouis


Thursday 21 April 2011  Prime Minister Honourable Stephenson King has  announced that  a new  programme will come on stream during this financial year  in an effort to fill the existing gaps  in the care and rehabilitation of children with special needs.


The prime minister indicated that sub-optimal care only worsens the  situation of children with special needs, lessening  even more, whatever chances they may have to become income earners in the future.


“It is now time for a comprehensive developmental paediatrics program. This programme should ideally be housed in a specialized development centre, headed by a consultant paediatrician who supervises a team of professionals (Speech & Language therapists, Physiotherapists, Occupational therapists, Educational Psychologists, Social workers, Guidance counsellors), and who liaise with other medical and nursing staff, community-based rehabilitation officers, teachers or day care staff, parents and families, and other professionals and agencies.



Meantime the Prime Minister in the  budget presentation acknowledged the Child Development and Guidance Centre (CDGC) for its invaluable contribution and  steadfast commitment to  Children with Special needs.


The country's leader said   currently, the CDGC is the only agency in Saint Lucia with the capacity to offer comprehensive assessment and diagnosis of developmental delays and disabilities in children.


The centre offers  an individualized intervention programme for each child—monitoring  him or her within the school and community. The Centre also trains staff and parents, and is currently the sole provider of speech, language, and occupational therapy in Saint Lucia.


To date some 770 children have received a comprehensive assessment and more than 300 are currently awaiting therapy.


Currently, the Center is entirely dependent on donations from parents, local private sector donors, foreign donors and volunteer therapists.

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