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Autism Awareness and Parents’ Support Group established in SVG

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Thursday, March 8, 2012, International Women’s Day, saw the formation of an all-women’s steering committee designed to establish an Autism Awareness and Parents’ Support Group in St Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

This committee, made up of parents and educators, comprises Mavis Hall, Joycelyn Blake-Browne, Dr Simone Keizer-Beache, Phedra Samuel, Loris John, Vasilka Hull-Findlay and Andrea Bowman. The immediate objective of the committee is to prepare a media awareness package to coincide with International Autism Day on Tuesday, April 2, 2012.

Autism is “a devastating biological and neurological disorder that can affect individuals in different areas:

1. Communication difficulties; both verbal and non-verbal, including the possibility of no speech, or appearing deaf

2. Impaired social and learning skills; inability to understand social cues and situations, including waiting in lines or unplanned changes

3. Strange or Odd behaviours such as tantrums, hand-flapping, repetitive sounds, yelling out or obsessive behaviours

4. Sensory Challenges for example hypersensitive hearing and vision, or an aversion to being touched

5. Medical problems including severe headaches, gastro-intestinal problems, severe food allergies and many others.”

Over 1 million children in the USA are affected with Autism, with the US Centre for Disease Control reporting that 1 in 150 children have autism, while there was a 2006 report that put this ratio at 1 in 86 children, with the majority being boys.

One of the objectives of the SVG steering committee is to establish a data base on the incidence of autism in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

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