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Ministry hosts Special Education Workshop

Ministry hosts Special Education Workshop

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Four special education practitioners are halfway through a two-week consultation exercise here.{{more}}

The four are members of the York, United Kingdom-based Helping Hands programme and are currently working with the Ministry of Education to provide training in the area of special needs: With challenged children, their parents and teachers.

The practitioners were introduced at the official launch of the project on Monday at the Pauline Allen-Young Centre (Frenches House) in Frenches.

Head of the contingent and Project Development Officer of Helping Hands York Joanne Whitehead said that her team’s visit here transpired after talks between her organization and the Ministry of Education, which indicated that they required assistance in various areas of Special Education.

“This project focuses on autism and hearing impairment.”

“Our overall aim is to assist teachers and adult support staff in settings involving disabled children and young people, or those with special education needs to understand and implement some of the key points from the special needs education policy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

Whitehead is accompanied by Marie Feeley, Jessie Haslam and Catherine Porter, who are all involved in various fields of the care and education of children with special needs.

While here, the women have been, and will be holding a number of sessions concerning effective and alternative communication, challenging behavior and communication disability.

They will hold sessions with the parents of disabled children and those with children with special education needs.

Niece of local Helping Hands coordinator Katherine Cyrus, Whitehead acknowledged that the group would not make a major difference in their two-week visit, but she hopes that the practical experience of her team would assist the teachers and caregivers in the huge task they face.

“Most important to all of us throughout our work is the belief that teaching is all about relationships; it is, therefore, with great excitement and anticipation that we look forward to the sharing of knowledge at this very exciting time for educational provision here on the island.”

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Laura Browne said that her Ministry was very grateful for the assistance that the consultants are providing and said that the workshop was in keeping with the government’s education mandate.

“As we have been saying throughout the years, government would not ever be able to do it alone but must work with other organizations as we work towards the development of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

“This activity is welcomed because in St. Vincent and the Grenadines we have been working along with UNESCO and other organizations in terms of including everyone in education and making sure that nobody, regardless of disability, is left behind.”

Brief remarks were also made by acting Chief Education Officer Louann Gilchrist and acting Deputy Chief Education Officer Beverly Neptune, who vowed to continue the work started in this field by their predecessors.(JJ)

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