a special occasion for 25 very special children on Wednesday, July 30, who have
graduated from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s Early Stimulation
The youngsters, who suffer from various
disabilities, were hailed for their achievements, at a valedictory service held
at the Apostolic Church of Jamaica in Kingston, which was attended by
government ministers, parents, guardians, teachers, therapists, and
Minister of Labour and Social Security,
Hon. Derrick Kellier, in congratulating the graduating class of 2014 stated
that, “this is a great personal achievement for each of these students….some of
them are triumphing over very severe disabilities and challenges. Their success
is testament to the fact that children with disabilities can achieve their full
potential, given the right assistance”.
He encouraged the children to aim for
success when they move on to their new schools, and to become skilled and
certified, in order to effectively contribute to the growth of the economy.
Citing the recent passage of the landmark
National Disabilities Act in the lower House, which is soon to be ratified by
the Senate, Minister Kellier said the children will benefit from the
“I see very exciting times ahead for these
children,” he said, noting that the Act is expected to promote, protect and
facilitate full fundamental rights, benefits, privileges, and treatment of
persons with disabilities on an equal basis with other persons in all areas,
including education and training, employment, political office, healthcare,
housing, public transportation, and accessibility in other areas.
“What this means is that going forward,
these children can expect to see a huge difference in their lives, because the
act unequivocally prohibits any form of discrimination against a person with a
disability,” he stated.
The Labour Minister pointed out that the
Act stipulates that a person with a disability should not be prevented from
being enrolled at, or attend an educational or training institution, whether
that institution is public or private.
“Additionally, the education or training
institution is required to provide the necessary support to ensure that a
person with a disability has the most reasonable access to the education or
training provided, and access to the facilities,” he said further.
The ESP, which is an extension of the
Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities, is an assessment and early
intervention programme for children with disabilities from birth to six years
of the disabilities include: multi-disabled, intellectually challenged, mental
retardation, learning disabilities, impaired-hearing or vision, lacking in
language development, the physically challenged, and children with cerebral
palsy, down syndrome, and autism.