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Apr 26, 2018

Blue Balloons in the Air for Autism Awareness

Blue is a color in Belize mostly associated with the People’s United Party. But it also represents children living with the development condition known as autism. It affects how a person relates to their environment and people. In young people, it is characterized by tantrums, hitting and biting but also in brilliant minds and high functioning at a young age. Autism Awareness Day was celebrated earlier this month, but students at Stella Maris School held a short activity this morning during the week of observance for the school’s anniversary. Principal Karema Oshon and Lythia Rhaburn, who teaches six students with autism, tell us more.

 

Karema Oshon

Karema Oshon, Principal, Stella Maris School

“This morning, we were late with celebrating, nonetheless we are recognizing children living with autism. So we had a little release of balloons, a little ceremony, in recognition of children living with autism this morning. Internationally it is celebrated on the second of April but we decided to do it today because school was closed for us then.”

 

Lythia Rhaburn

Lythia Rhaburn, Teacher, Stella Maris School

“In my classroom, I have a total of nine students and six of the students are autistic. It’s a challenge every day, but every day you learn. These children have different characteristics – it varies; non-verbal, speech, their social skills are very limited; they prefer to be by themselves. But with the help of the administrators and parents within my classroom, I am able to reach out to these children. I would like for the public to be more educated about children living with a disability, especially autism, because autism is on the rise and we’re seeing it a lot in the males. We currently have only the Inspiration Center that caters for children with autism, whereby they can go and do speech therapy. But we would also encourage the public if they have any assistance that they can help us here, because we really need it. And our autistic children are very talented: they speak proper English; their vocab is wide; they are interested in technology, and our resources here are very, very limited.”

 

Autism is medically diagnosed on a scale ranging from mild to severe and is not curable. The diagnosis leads to specialized treatment options.

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