[www.inewsguyana.com] – Autism and its effects were highlighted when President Donald Ramotar, First lady Deolatchmee Ramotar, Minister of Human Services and Social Security Jennifer Webster and other ministers joined hundreds of stakeholders in the annual Autism Walk in Georgetown on Sunday, April 07.
Speaking at the culmination of the walk which began at the Bank of Guyana and ended at the Children’s Monument in the National Park, President Ramotar said that good health is important to the nation’s development, and as such it is important to take away the stigma associated with autism.
The president stated that, “I believe that if these things are recognised and the earlier they are detected, the quicker it is and the better it is for treating them and helping them to live a more useful and healthier life, in many, many cases”.
Those who worked with children with disabilities were praised by the president. “I don’t think any amount of money will be able to pay those who work with these children in particular, to try to help them to live a useful life. I want all of you to understand and give them the appreciation that they deserve.”
He also expressed his pleasure at the fact that government is able to assist the Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Center towards supporting those affected. Social sector spending is the largest in the National Budget, the president explained as government places a priority on human capital development.
Meanwhile, the efforts of First Lady Deolatchmee Ramotar were lauded by Minister Webster.
“Our First Lady has taken the lead through her foundation, to set aside her time, to dedicate towards working to promote families and to make our populace more aware about what affect members of our society”.
Minister Webster said that Guyana has come a long way with initiatives, as decades ago, autism was hardly known. “Our government is committed to ensuring that all our citizens, all our children who have disabilities, that we provide for them in a special way”.
Autism is a severely incapacitating, lifelong developmental disability, which usually appears during the first three years of a child’s life. It affects boys, four times more than girls, occurring in 5 out of every 10,000 births throughout the world, in all races and social backgrounds.
In Guyana, assistance is available through the Step by Step School in Bagotstown, Guyana Greenheart Autistic Society, Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Center, Gifted Hands in Parade Street Kingston and the Ministry of Social Services.