Anguilla Community College Hosts ASD Workshop

By anguillian December 18, 2017 12:08 Updated




The Anguilla Community College (ACC), on Tuesday, December 12th, hosted a second workshop to highlight the issue of children with special needs, and in particular those children who are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This initiative, taken on by the College, emphasizes its social responsibility for the educational and social well-being

of every child in the community, with the aim of seeking to capitalize on each child’s potential for his or her academic development.
In clinical terms, children affected by ASD are said to be “on the spectrum”. Tuesday’s four-hour session was geared towards sensitizing primary level teachers and their assistants to the characteristics of ASD in affected children, and was aimed towards equipping them with the knowledge necessary for assisting and enabling children with such needs in the classroom. Some twenty-six teachers availed themselves of the benefits of the session which was facilitated by local Education Consultant, Mrs. Njeri Richardson-Carty. The College will continue to run such workshops throughout the 2017/2018 school year.
In his address at the launch of Tuesday morning’s workshop, President of the College, Dr. Karl Dawson, said: “I am pleased to give remarks on the occasion of the second in a three-part series of workshops on special needs in our education system. There seems to be growing awareness of the needs of certain special persons in our classrooms and in our community.”
He referred to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and said: “Article 23 of the Convention states, ‘State parties recognize that a mentally or physically disabled child should enjoy a full and decent life in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community,’ and it goes on to include language about their right to education.”
Dr. Dawson then explained the circumstances at the College which led to these initiatives with focus on ASD: “At a recent meeting with our employees, we were challenged to find ways in which we could contribute to the community beyond the requirements of our jobs. Various worthy ideas were raised and subsequently voted on. Overwhelmingly, our college community selected the area of special needs as our lead area of focus in the community. In an age when we are more given to helping those who can help us, I am pleased that the employees of ACC decided to aid in giving a voice to those whose voices need to be amplified.”
In speaking directly to the teachers present at the workshop, the President explained: “It may not be convenient to adapt your teaching style to make learning accessible to all children. It may not be convenient to figure how to use opportunities to teach all children in your class about acceptance. When you get to school with your day properly planned out, it may not seem like it is the right time to stop the lesson in order to learn the life-lesson that may present itself to you in an inclusive classroom of persons with varying abilities…but I am happy that each of you have taken the opportunity to join us at ACC, today, as we better equip ourselves to serve our children.”
Tuesday’s workshop came on the heels of a forum which was held at Le Vue Hotel last Monday evening. That event was under the auspices of the Gender Affairs Department, and was organized by Ms. Annishka White who is the mother of an autistic child, and an employee at the ACC. The President, in closing his address, alluded to Ms. White’s passion on the subject of ASD: “I cannot close without stating how proud we are to know that one of the leading advocates for special needs, particularly Autism Spectrum Disorder, is Ms. Annishka White, who is also part of our college community. By their presence around us, Annishka and her daughter, Tiarra, have taught us a lot, but we still have much more to learn.”
With the help of forums and workshops like these as arms of support, Ms. White has established a foundation, known as iSpeak, for the support of parents of autistic children. Those interested in contacting Ms. White to seek support, or to make an input, may call her at cell: 584-1058, or email:

By anguillian December 18, 2017 12:08 Updated


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