Minister of Health, Donville Inniss

The Ministry of Health remains committed to assisting persons with disabilities.

This assurance came today as Health Minister Donville Inniss addressed a graduation ceremony at the Children’s Development Centre (CDC), at Ladymeade Gardens, that saw eight children, their parents and teachers being commended for outstanding work.

While stating that the CDC’s physical environment would be improved, Minister Inniss said:?? "I know that there are plans in this financial year to change a sizeable portion of your roof, but beyond that, we will continue to make interventions that will lead to improved rehabilitation and counselling services here at the Children’s Development Centre, both for the children and their parents."

He also noted that there would be renovations at the Elayne Scantlebury Centre in St. Andrew that would involve relocating the residents to a different facility to effect the repairs. And, he assured Barbadians that Government would ensure that each citizen continued to enjoy a high quality of life "not in any way affected by unavailability of medication".

"We know that these things are costly, there will be some great sacrifices to make, but as a Government, we are committed to providing the best possible health care to all Barbadians, regardless of their circumstances," Mr. Inniss said.

Acknowledging the work of teachers, the Health Minister stated: "Improving outcomes for students and children with special needs relies on a range of factors. But, one of the major factors that provides improved outcomes must be the quality and commitment of the teachers and support staff who work with the students everyday. It is important to note that special education, itself, is a diverse and changing field and teachers must be challenged to think and operate beyond the classroom boundaries in order to produce positive results."

And, he added a word of caution concerning young persons and pupils with disabilities, noting that they "were first children and then students who happened to have disabilities".?? He said: "Therefore, it is important that our language and actions reflect this. Children with disabilities have the same basic needs as their peers and that is to belong, to achieve, to have fun and to become increasingly autonomous. Each child who has a disability must be seen as unique."

Parents also received accolades from the Health Minister who observed: "For those of us who have children we may consider to be normal, our lives as parents, particularly in today’s society, is very challenging. But for those of you who are parents of children who are differently-abled, your life cannot be normal and cannot be easy but we commend you for your valiant fight because it is out of your love, care and compassion that these children persevere."

The ceremony was held under the theme, "Guidance is All They Need", and it saw four children graduating from the Day Care Unit, which caters to the psychological, emotional, physical, nutritional and intellectual needs of young persons.

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