APRIL- focus on autism

Minister of Social Development and Family Services the Honourable Cherrie-Ann Crichlow-Cockburn was the feature speaker at a special function organised by the Autistic Society of Trinidad & Tobago to commemorate World Autism Day. Autism Place, the headquarters of the organisation, is within the constituency of Lopinot-Bon Air West, of which the Minister is the Member of Parliament.

In her address to families and friends of ASTT she stated that “persons living with autism spectrum disorder are equal citizens and must be treated as such in all spheres of life, be it access to education, health, employment, transport, justice and the built environment.”

She highlighted the Ministry’s continued support towards advocacy, creating awareness and the development and implementation of several policies and initiatives, including the finalisation of the National Policy on persons with disabilities. She also lauded the exceptional work of the Autistic Society over the past 28years. (Guardian 17.4.18 Spotlight on Autism)

Honourable Cherrie-Ann Crichlow-Cockburn delivers the feature address

The new logo of ASTT launched that day is in the background.

Members of the Angel Harps Steel Orchestra entertain the audience

At the event held on Wednesday 4th April the Secretary of ASTT, Mrs. Halena Kong Ting welcomed families and guests.

The President, Mrs. Teresina Sieunarine, read the message from the UN Secretary General António Gutteres:

“On this World Autism Awareness Day, let us all play a part in changing attitudes toward persons with autism and in recognizing their rights as citizens, who, like everyone else, are entitled to claim those rights and make decisions for their lives in accordance with their own will and preferences.”

This year the UN’s theme in 2018 is “Empowering Women and Girls with Autism”

Mrs. Sieunarine stated that ASTT is a member of the Consortium of Disability Organisations (CODO), which has embarked on a parent advocacy training programme to be completed in June. A few parents as members of ASTT have been able to attend the workshops which began since 2017. The aim is to empower families to become advocates in their own communities. It is expected that this group can help bring about long overdue legislation in T&T, to champion the rights of persons with disabilities. It is expected that they will lobby the Government to improve the quality of life for our children and adults on the autism spectrum.

ASTT’s theme for the 11th World Autism Day 2nd April 2018 is Empowering families and persons with autism to be advocates.

After the function the children and adults took part in an Easter hunt on the grounds of Autism Place.

On the evening of 8th April the Soroptimist’s International San Fernando together with the Mayor of San Fernando, his worship Junia Regrello hosted the first “light it up blue” event at the bandstand at Harris Promenade.

During the programme the children produced beautiful chalk art, while families were treated to performances by the National Centre for Persons with Disabilities Ensemble (NCPD) and four singers from The Trebles of T&T.

During the performance by the  Ensemble the Mayor moved among the artistes fascinated by their performance on the steel pans. Suzette Neptune-Fortune, a parent of a young man on the autism spectrum from Point Fortin, a member of the Autistic Society, performed a monologue in which she dramatized her plea for the government to legislate for the rights of persons who are autistic.

Greetings were delivered by Teresina Sieunarine, president of the Autistic Society of Trinidad and Tobago, immediate past president Rabbia Khan and Mayor Regrello. Dr Beverly Beckles chief executive officer of NCPD was among the distinguished guests at the event.

Some members of the Soroptimist’s Club San Fernando join Mayor Regrello in front of the beautifully lit bandstand.

At the walk for autism Point Fortin 13th April

Mayor of Point Fortin His Worship Abdon Mason joined in for the walk

During the month there were newspaper articles highlighting families and persons on the autism spectrum.

The PRO Ms. Sarah Soo Hon was hosted on radio and television.

Thanks to the media for highlighting the needs of persons on the autism spectrum.

ASTT’s programme coordinator at Autism Place represented ASTT at many sensitisation talks in different communities.

Patients listening to Amoy Boodoo, ASTT’s Programme coordinator, at Oxford Street Health Centre on 16th April.

Other talks on autism were given on 11th at George Street Health Centre (Amoy) and at Petit Valley by PRO Sarah Soo Hon on 12th April.

At Sangre Grande Regional Corporation event on 4th May

A series of talks were given at Courts stores and at the Unicomer head office.

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The executive and members of the Autistic Society wish to thank ALL individuals and groups in Trinidad and Tobago who held autism awareness events during April 2018.

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