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Sep 23, 2021

Autism Belize Successfully Completes Power Professional Certification Program

Twenty-six persons were issued certificates of completion, having successfully participated in a first-of-its-kind autism program. Among the participants were teachers and parents who acquired much needed information on how to care for a child who falls within the spectrum. News Five was there for the award ceremony. Here’s that report.


Christy Castillo Almeida, Founder/Executive Chair, Autism Belize

“Schools were out, kids were at home and parents were struggling to figure out how do I teach my kids, how do I work with my kids. We recognised that there were some weaknesses with the packages. But especially when we are talking about special needs – not just autism; down syndrome, dyslexia, all of the different learning disabilities – the kids were struggling because the online wasn’t really cutting it, the packages weren’t and parents were struggling, parents are struggling.”


Christy Castillo Almeida

Duane Moody, Reporting

This birthed the idea to provide training and support to those who interact with children with disabilities. And over the weekend, the first cohort of parents and teachers, as well as caregivers, of children living with special needs were awarded for having successfully completed a course spearheaded by Autism Belize. A module was developed and facilitators trained for the program.


Patricia Dixon-Sebastian

Patricia Dixon-Sebastian, Special Education Officer, Belmopan

“We need to build capacity and empower our parents, teachers, caregivers, actually the whole community for us to see how best we can facilitate our children, in and out-of-school, who are autistic. We try as much as possible to be the ones not to identify because for one we are not fully trained to do so and that avoids labelling likewise. So we look at what they can do and see how best we can help them to better off in the strengths that they have.”


Among the participants in the Autism Belize Power Professional Certification program is Kareesh Archer. She is a teacher and a mother of an autistic child.


Kareesh Archer

Kareesh Archer, Participant

“I thought it would have been interesting to be trained in how to better deal with these children so that the classrooms can become inclusive and I must say this is a start to many great things when it comes to inclusion for children with special needs. These kids need one-on-one help, so where the teacher is giving my child the assistance via these platforms, I could be picking up the slack in helping her while she is at home so she could be on the same pace.”


While there are plans to take the program countrywide, one teacher from Julian Cho High School in the south travelled weekly to Belize City.


Annelita Garcia

Annelita Garcia, Teacher, Julian Cho High School

“When I saw this opportunity I did not hesitate in taking advantage of it because I know there is a need for many teachers to become trained in this area. So it was a sacrifice for me, but I knew that if I do the training it will help me because some of the questions I have and the training that I need, I know to some extent I will receive that training.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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