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Apr 6, 2022

Autism Belize: Policy Action is Next Step

Christy Castillo Almeida

Founder and executive chair of Autism Belize, Christy Castillo Almeida says that outside of visiting school and talking about improving special education as well as being more inclusive, there is a long way to go.  Policies need to be implemented.


Christy Castillo Almeida, Founder/Executive Chair, Autism Belize

“It’s amazing that we now have a seat at the table and they are listening. I mean there is a lot to be done, but we are being heard and that’s what I like to tell all my families who are hesitant about taking their child out or feel that they are all isolated, we are being heard. Look at how many people are wearing blue today. We are being heard. The next thing is going to be action and we gotta get to it, but at least after so many decades of being silent and invisible, all of a sudden there is a light shining out there for us. When I spoke to the C.E.O.s, I would really love something, policies established. We are talking with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Human Development and we are trying to get the buy-in from [Ministry of] Health about universal referral form. So if their officers are out, they see a child who might be blind and needs BCVI’s help, there is a click, click, click and BCVI gets it. So there is a system in place. I am talking with like tourism and saying for your tour guides and stuff, can we as part of their certification course include a module about how to interact with persons with disabilities. The airport; we’re doing one training there, but we’ve gotta make sure we get everyone. We started with transport, but we need to continue. And so we need to make sure that this isn’t just an ad hoc one-off thing, but that there are systems in place.”

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