Disabled get $4.6 m in financial assistance

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ONE hundred and seventy people living with disabilities received $4.6 million in financial assistance from the Government, over the October to December quarter.

This was disclosed by Labour and Social Security Minister Shahine Robinson, at a media briefing held recently at the ministry’s downtown Kingston offices.

“It is our view that persons with disabilities are capable of doing anything, once they are empowered to do so,” she said.

Robinson also announced that under the Early Stimulation Programme (ESP), 80 children with disabilities received assistive aids such as specialised wheelchairs, hearing aids and walkers.

In addition, 1,615 children received therapy or treatment through the community-based intervention programme and 150 parents received training in developing coping skills and strategies in caring for their children with disabilities.

Strategies include stimulating the child in the various areas of development, such as language, cognitive, self-help, motor and socialisation.

The ESP caters to children from birth to six years with challenges such as cerebral palsy, sensory impairment, autism, Down syndrome, developmental delay, psychosocial deprivation and co-morbid behavioural problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The programme’s services fall into two main categories, centre-based and community-based, with the former comprising clinical assessment, re-evaluation, reviews, physical therapy, speech therapy, parent orientation and counselling, and parent/staff training workshops.

Since its inception in 1975, the ESP has provided early intervention and assessment for thousands of children across the island, the labour ministry said.

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