Ag. Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health and Social Development
Telephone: 468-3701 ext. 852 7742
Persons in the community are being urged to see persons with autism and other disabilities as being different and not any less than human beings.
Autism Programme Director, Ms. Lorna Dawson stated that this year’s theme ‘Different Not Less’ advocates for a greater understanding of autism or any disability that would make persons more tolerant and less judgmental.
Ms. Dawson said, “We are doing our awareness campaign and we are trying to get information out there via different media, but persons can also avail themselves of information on the internet at www.autismspeaks.org, www.autism.org.uk or come to the office and speak with us….we presently have some books and DVDs that persons can borrow that will tell them more about autism and other disabilities.”
She added that the month of activities are geared towards awareness and will highlight both Autism as well as Child Abuse Prevention messages, as children with disabilities are more prone to being abused.
The month of activities begin on April 1 with the Light it up Blue March and Fun Day. The march will begin at 10:00 a.m. from the Althea Scatliffe Primary School to the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park where lots of fun and information awaits everyone. On April 2, there will be a World Autism Awareness Day Walk sponsored by Sol Petroleum. The walk begins at 5:30 a.m. and registration begins at 5:15 a.m. from the Central Administration Complex to ZBVI radio station and back to the Central Administration Complex.
A Light it up Blue Fashion Show will be held on April 15 and will be sponsored by UMI; and the infamous Drive Blue/Wear Blue Day will take place on April 29. The Drive Blue/Wear Blue activity highlights the positive message of supporting families and strengthening the Virgin Islands community.
Residents are invited to wear any shade of blue or wear a ‘Break the Silence’ t-shirt to show support for the activities. The month culminates on April 30 with a march by the Seventh Day Adventist Church sponsored by the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports.
Autism Awareness Month is observed in April with World Autism Awareness Day being observed on April 2 every year since 2008. It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution and adopted in 2007. Since the opening of the Autism Centre in 2012, the day and month of April has been adopted to be observed in the Virgin Islands from 2013.
For more information on activities for Autism and Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month, please contact the Social Development Department at 468-3650 or 468-3672.