Press Release

Governor's Group
Release Date:
Wednesday, 1 April 2015 - 8:15am

The Civil Registry & Passport Office (Registry), in an effort to be a socially responsible department, has adopted the Virgin Islands Autism Centre.

Earlier this month, the Registry donated a number of books and videos requested by the centre to enhance their service to users.

Some of the titles donated include, ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul: Children with Special Needs’, ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids on the Spectrum’, ‘My Brother Charlie’, ‘Views From Our Shoes’ and ‘Growing Up with a Brother or Sister with Special Needs’. The DVD titles were ‘A Mile in His Shoes’, ‘Simon Birch’, ‘Miracle in Lane 2’ and ‘Adam’.

Programme Director at the Autism Centre, Ms. Lorna Dawson, thanked the Civil Registry and Passport Office for their generous donation.  She said that the centre would use the books and videos in their library to promote awareness about autism and other disabilities.  She added that the centre is also seeking to build a library of resources suitable for all age ranges and abilities in order to make them more aware of disabilities.

Ms. Dawson stated that 19 children and five adults are enrolled in the programme and the centre is working to help them become contributing members of society.

Registrar-General of the Civil Registry and Passport Office, Mrs. Stephanie Benn, said that the Registry chose to give to the centre in order to raise the level of awareness about autism in the Territory. She added that the Civil Registry & Passport Office wishes to continue to bring awareness to the people of the community about the disability.

The Registrar-General stated, “During an assessment, we realised more focus was placed on senior citizens as well as other organisations, which are very important, but persons seem to have forgotten or have no awareness of autism. Hence, in our pursuit to give back to the community, we decided to adopt the centre.”

This is not the first time the Registry has given to the centre.  Previously, an assortment of fruits was donated during the centre’s vacation programme to be used in activities to help identify colour, shape and taste. Fruit kebabs were also made to demonstrate patterns.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to other people.  It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.  It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways.

The Autism Centre provides services for children and adults.  They learn skills which help to improve their ability to communicate and respond more appropriately to their surroundings and enhance their social interactions.  Academic skills are emphasised for children, while independent living skills are highlighted for adults.

The Civil Registry and Passport Office continues to be a good corporate citizen as it serves the Virgin Islands community.


Colene A. Penn

Head of Communications
Recovery and Development Agency
Tel: +1 (284) 345-2776 | Mobile: +1 (284) 345-3387