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Posted: Tuesday 9 April, 2024 at 11:05 AM

Autism Awareness: St. Kitts Spectrum Services Centre spreads the message 

Members of the SKSSC, led by Director Dr Josephine Claxton-Richardson, parents, students and friends pose for a group picture at the Cenotaph after the Awareness Walk which had taken them to Port Zante via Bay Road, and back…
By: Peter Ngunjiri, Press Release

    BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, April 8, 2024 (MMS-SKN) -- April is being observed as Autism Awareness Month with ‘Assessment’ as the main focus. In the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, the St. Kitts Spectrum Services Centre has been hosting a number of activities in celebration of the month, among them an Awareness Walk on Saturday April 6, and a worship service on Sunday April 7.
    “It is Autism Awareness Month, and 2nd of April (Tuesday) was World Autism Awareness Day when persons were encouraged to wear blue,” said the Director of St. Kitts Spectrum Services Centre, Dr Josephine Claxton-Richardson, who added: “We work with children and families with autism.”
    Dr Claxton-Richardson made the remarks on Saturday April 6 at the end of the Autism Awareness Walk which had started shortly after 9:00 a.m. from the Cenotaph at the War Memorial, taking participants through Irish Town Bay Road to the western entrance of Port Zante (opposite Rams Supermarket on Bay Road) and back to the Cenotaph. 
    “Throughout the month of April we try to bring awareness to autism, and that was the purpose of the walk, so that we can actually bring awareness to autism,” she said. The colourful walk drew attention as leading the participants made up of parents, children and friends, all wearing blue, were members of the Explorers Drum Corps. 
    The team had gathered under a tree shade where they were addressed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mrs Lisa Pistana. After a prayer by Mrs Shirlene Archibald, owner of Darkies Nursery School in Lime Kiln, they set off at 9:27 a.m. Also taking part in the walk was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Mrs Janelle Lewis-Tafari.
    “Remember you are supposed to advocate for your children,” PS Pistana told the participants before they set off. “They might learn differently but they are just like every other child, and we have to begin to see the potential in our children and recognise their strengths and aim towards those strengths and develop them. I just want to say thank you for coming out and supporting the St. Kitts Spectrum Services Centre, and for being a great advocate for your children.”
    Organising the event was Ms Dounia Hughes, Clerk at the St. Kitts Spectrum Services Centre, who ensured that when they made a stop at Port Zante, walk participants were served with fruits and water. She also mingled with members of the public as she sold pin-lapels with messages on autism.
    On Sunday they attended a worship service at the Antioch Baptist Church, and in attendance was the Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marcella Liburd, GCMG, JP. The sermon ‘Terrible Beginnings can lead to great endings’, which was delivered by Lead Pastor Lincoln Connor, had Philemon 1: 1-19 as the Focus Scripture. 
    While at the church, members of the Antioch Baptist Church’s Sisters Supporting Sisters Small Group, through Mrs Kirsten Lawrence on behalf of their leader Ms Ercille French, made a monetary donation to the St. Kitts Spectrum Services Centre. The cheque was received by the Director, Dr Josephine Claxton-Richardson. 
    “While our main focus is biblical studies and Christian-centred networking, community outreach and charitable initiatives are also key components,” said Mrs Lawrence. “As our name suggests, we genuinely believe that we are our brother/sister’s keeper. As followers of Christ it is our duty to support each other in any way we can.”
    According to Mrs Lawrence, as the country celebrates Autism Awareness Month, they felt it was necessary to show their support to the St. Kitts Spectrum Services Centre and its members who are doing such remarkable work in the community, diagnosing and caring for autistic individuals, and bringing more awareness to the Federation.
    “Our Lead Pastor, Lincoln Connor, who is also well known for his charitable contributions was happy to support this initiative and subsidised a portion of our donation,” noted Mrs Lawrence. “We are collectively honoured to have been able to partner with the St. Kitts Spectrum Services Centre and will continue to lend support in the future.”
    Other members of Antioch Baptist Church’s Sisters Supporting Sisters Small Group present included Ms Nayalla Parry, Ms Shirlene Archibald, Ms Natasha St. Juste, and Ms Kizwana Proctor. 






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