March 27, 2015: Scores of parents of children with special needs have been motivated and empowered by the information shared with them during a recent seminar put on by the Ministry of Education’s Region One Office at the Pembroke Hall Primary School in St Andrew.
Patricia Robinson-Riley, mother of an eleven-year-old child with special needs, said the sessions were very informative and helped her to deal with issues she had surrounding the care for her child who is a sicklier and recovering from a stroke. She said the presentations at the seminar have made her aware that as a result of the stroke her child’s cognitive ability has slowed down so she has to exercise more patience with him.
“His grades were also very low in school and I believed that he could study more and do better than he was doing. I used to motivate him and sometimes I would get upset when he failed to make any progress,” Robinson-Riley recounted.
Another parent Tamara Brown disclosed that her eight-year-old child had a spinal injury from birth and has been confined to a wheelchair. The mother of four said she was happy that the forum touched on important points that can help her to deal with her son’s special needs.
Mother of two, Alesa Bloomfield, said her three year-old son is autistic and by listening to the presentations she has been inspired and motivated to continue caring for her child.
“I realize that I am not alone and I am motivated to be strong and active in my child’s life. When people see my son they stigmatize him and at one point I was in denial about the disability. Now I feel proud. I know he is special and God gave me him for a purpose,” Bloomfield said.
The presentation also taught her to be patient with her child. “My son doesn’t speak and whatever he wants he pulls on my clothes and points to it. Sometimes I become impatient with him. However, today I am motivated and I feel like a supermom,” she added.
Leonard Doyley, the father of a nine-year-old boy said his son is a slow learner and becomes easily distracted from his lessons. He attended the seminar to learn more about coping with children that have special needs. “It is my first time attending a forum like this. I came because I want to help my son to learn and become something special in life,” Doyley said.
More than 160 parents and some 230 students and teachers attended the seminar, which Education Officer Gregory King said was successful in fulfilling the ministry’s mandate of providing equitable educational opportunities for all.
“We have achieved this here by informing and motivating these parents on how to deal with children diagnosed with special needs,” King said.
The seminar was part of a Parent Information Fair, organized by the Ministry of Education Region One in partnership with various stakeholders. These include the National Parent Support Commission, the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities, the HEART Trust/NTA, the Nathan Ebanks Foundation, the Jamaica Association for Children with Learning Disabilities, the Office of the Children’s Registry, Bashy Bus Krew from Children First among others.