ABOUT THE LIAM PROJECT
The LIAM project is designed to build towards an inclusive educational system that accepts, supports, and motivates children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, in Jamaica, so they can take their rightful place as respected contributors to society.
WHAT IS AUTISM?
There are an estimated 5000 children born with spectrum disorders in Jamaica annually. These children may exhibit one, or a combination of challenges in the following areas:
Verbal and non-verbal communication
The ability to learn (in the usual settings)
Unusual or severely limited activities and interests
If all affected children in Jamaica between ages 4 – 18 were to attend school, there would be an estimated 70,000 such children in the school system. As in many other countries, teachers in Jamaica are not well prepared for an inclusive educational environment.
The fact is that children with spectrum disorders are generally misunderstood, abused, ostracized, and alienated from family and community; this is further compounded by a lack of education. They become social misfits, stuck in a cycle of poverty and its attendant social ills including criminal activity.
Education is the catalyst for change, through community sensitization, and more urgently, equipping teachers to understand the disorders, and providing them with the tools to educate children with autism spectrum disorders.
A high degree of success has been achieved in educating children with autism spectrum disorders in Canadian jurisdictions where teachers are well trained, and function in a supportive environment.