Renovations to the BVI Autism Center in Lower Estate, Tortola are now complete.
Programme Director of the BVI Autism Centre, Lorna Dawson, told BVI News this week that they were forced to scale down operations for more than a year because of the damage that had happened to the facility during last year’s hurricanes.
The facility was handed back over to the Ministry of Education roughly two weeks before Christmas.
The renovations, which was largely carried out by volunteer organisation All Hands and Hearts, took about six months, Dawson said.
The main sponsors of the project are Maria Holder Memorial Trust and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, UNITE BVI, Guana Fund, Virgin Islands Search and Rescue, the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund, and Scotiabank.
“I would like to express thanks to all who contributed to bringing us to this present state whether it was a monetary donation or those who supported our fundraisers or those who took the time to help with cleaning and painting,” Dawson said.
“Now that the school is opened, we are getting referrals for children. Had it been prior to the hurricane, we would have been in the schools, doing workshops we would have been made aware of the issues of children having problems [with their work].
She said, since September, the facility has received seven referrals and have heard of another seven students who may have traits of autism. The centre currently assists more than 30 persons with autism.
Autism is a developmental disability which affects how one communicates, behaves or how they interact with others. Traits can be noticed months after birth or up to a few years in young children.
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