Monday, July 15, 2024

San Pedro continues raising Autism awareness


April is Autism Awareness Month across the country. Every year in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, a campaign is held to help the community understand and appreciate those living with autism spectrum disorder, a life-long developmental disorder. On Friday, April 28th, to further touch on the important topic, the San Pedro Town Council, in partnership with Autism Belize, hosted an Autism Let’s Talk forum at the San Pedro Lions Den.
The event was held from 9AM to noon and included the participation of students, island residents, and teachers from different schools. Guest speakers discussed early child therapy, speech therapy, and mental health. They shared information with those in attendance about the treatments and methods available to address the condition. The issue with autism, especially in children, causes them to experience repetitive interests, activities, and behaviours. According to the presentation, they are often sensitive to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light, or colors. The uniqueness of each person with autism makes the experience of living with autism different for each family.
At the activity’s end, everyone was invited to participate in the annual walk-run event to observe autism. The Autism Awareness walk run was held on Saturday, April 29th starting at 6AM at Central Park. The event, held to celebrate individuality and embrace inclusivity, saw participants heading south of San Pedro and returning to Central Park by the Banyan Bay roundabout. The annual walk-run event raised funds for the Autism Belize program.
In Ambergris Caye the only school with a special education classroom for students with learning disabilities and special needs such as autism is Ambergris Caye Elementary School. The school also runs an education scholarship program that provides quality education for special needs students on the island.

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