Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 31, 2023 (SKNIS): The Disabilities Unit within the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Ageing and Disabilities is currently trying to conduct a needs assessment to identify gaps and fill the needs of organisations dedicated to helping persons living with disabilities to further support them.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Ageing and Disability, Janelle Lewis-Tafari during her interview on the radio and television show InFocus on March 29 said, “The new administration of St. Kitts and Nevis noted that while there has always been support for persons living with disabilities including those who are on the spectrum, there needed to be a bit more emphasis or focus on persons living with disabilities.”
Since the Ministry has been established in January, we have been reaching out to the different stakeholders, those organisations and entities that work alongside people who are on the spectrum which would include the Spectrum Services Centre, Addie’s Place, St. Kitts Nevis Association of Persons with Disabilities and the Ministry of Education.”
She added that she wants to ensure that persons who are on the spectrum can be included and are able to participate in every aspect of our society.
Ms. Lewis-Tafari also noted some of the gaps that stuck out to her during the ongoing assessment. She said, “There are some gaps in terms of service providers, and we have a need for Speech-Language Pathologists, Behavioural Specialists and Occupational Therapists.
She added that “the current service of just one hour a week is not enough but because we do not have the human resources and the space, they are limited in what can really be available.”
Ms. Lewis-Tafari added also that adults need more support as it is significantly lacking.
Coordinator of Disability Services, Marcia Browne explained what a disability meant saying, “Any long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment that when interacting with any barrier in society, prevents that person from effectively participating in society when compared to an equal basis of others.”