Speech-Language Pathologist with the Barbados Council for the Disabled, Sue McMillan.

Speech-Language Pathologist with the Barbados Council for the Disabled, Sue McMillan.

Increase autism services

THERE has been an increase in facilities catering to families who have children with autism, but there is a need for more.

Speech-Language Pathologist with the Barbados Council for the Disabled, Sue McMillan, indicated this while speaking to the media at Browne’s Beach yesterday, where the Council held it’s event to mark World Autism Awareness Day.

“I don’t think there are enough facilities anywhere in the world, but certainly when I started working in Barbados in 2007, and the knowledge based and the number of people providing services for families with autism has been increasing.

“You have some incredibly gifted people here on the island who are working with the field of autism, but still there is a huge need for more services.”

A number of families were in an attendance at this picnic, which was sponsored by the Maria Holder Memorial Trust. Though there were occasional showers, the afternoon was especially enjoyed by the children, who played on the sand and a few who went into the sea accompanied by their parents.

McMillan said the event was aimed at further educating Barbadians about autism, “because in the greater community, autism is not a well understood disorder.

“And unfortunately, one of the things that I learnt in my time working in Barbados is children with autism would often be described by people who don’t know about the disorder as ‘hardears’, and they just need a lash, because it is them being badly behaved, and that is not the case.”

She urged members of the public to be more understanding of children with the condition.

“I would encourage the public, if you see a child who is having a tantrum and they look like they are sort of in their own world and they are not engaged with their parent, try to be careful not to judge, and try to be more accepting of the fact that there might be more going on than meets the eye,” McMillan added.

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