According to the Jamaica Autism Support Association, there are very limited resources for individuals with Autism in Jamaica, including access to appropriate education.
The organization aims to increase public awareness about Autism and provide support to families of individuals with Autism, through programs and provision of autism schools in Jamaica.
What is Autism?
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects an individual’s ability to comprehend what they see, hear, and perceive. It causes significant problems in social relationships, communication, and behavior.
People with autism need to learn the usual patterns of speech and communication and the right way to relate to people, objects, and events, similar to those who have had a stroke.
What causes autism?
Autism is a brain disorder that affects the brain’s ability to process information. It is present from birth, and its cause(s) are still unknown.
Some research suggests that a physical problem affecting the parts of the brain that process language and information is responsible.
It may result from an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain, while genetic factors may also be involved. Psychological factors are not responsible for causing autism.
Autistic individuals may have problems in:
- Gross Motor functioning
- Visual Memory
- Visual Discrimination
- Phonological Awareness
- Auditory Decimation
- Speech and Language – listening, thinking, talking
- Reading, writing, spelling
The List of Autism Schools in Jamaica
As of now, the Jamaican government has a limited number of specialized schools for children with Autism, and there are no known private schools that specialize in Autism education in Jamaica.
However, some schools have implemented special education programs for students with disabilities, including Autism.
Some of these autism schools in Jamaica include:
STEP Centre of Jamaica
STEP Centre of Jamaica, provides therapy and educational services to children with Autism and other developmental disorders.
The center provides individualized programs tailored to each child’s needs, including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy.
The school was started in 1993 by parents who believed that their children had the right to an appropriate and fulfilling education despite their differences and this remains our mission.
Fully recognized by the Ministry of Education, the school makes a unique contribution to the education of all Jamaican children no matter their challenges or abilities.
They offer in-house training-house fences for other professionals and paraprofessionals in related fields. Partnership with parents is integral to our work. Visit the website.
ADONIJAH Group Of Schools
Adonijah Group of Schools is a private institution registered with the Ministry of Education since 2008.
AGS handles students from ages 3 to 18, representing Kindergarten, Preparatory, Junior High, and Special Education Units.
AGS caters to autistic children with Aspergers & Rex Syndrome as well as children with:
- Williams Syndrome
- Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) Dyslexia, Cerebral Palsy;
- Chromosomes Defects
- Chi Du Chat
- Down Syndrome
- Late development and psychological disorder
- Poor foundational skills and remedial education
- Children with Learning Disabilities (LD)
The ultimate goal of the Adonijah Group of Schools is to provide the kind of dynamic leadership, example, advocacy, and influence that will facilitate the full integration and inclusion of persons affected by Special Needs society. Visit the Website.
The Montego Bay Autism Center
The Montego Bay Autism Center is a registered, non-profitable organization that caters to children with Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Slow learners.
The Montego Bay Autism Center was established in the year 2010 and offers training/resource assistance for autistic children, teens, and parents in Jamaica and other Islands.
At the Montego Bay Autism Center (MBAC), they help children acquire the basic skills necessary to achieve their greatest potential, using a complete range of early childhood and specialized services. Visit the Website.
Canadian Jamaican Medical Assistance Society (CJMAS)
CJMAS is a non-political, multi-racial, non-profit, non-governmental organization whose goals are to work with partner groups and NGOs on the island of Jamaica to better the lives of needy individuals through health and education initiatives.
Over the years the CJMAS has partnered with various organizations based in both rural and urban communities to make a lasting difference in the lives of Jamaicans.
CJMAS has provided financial, medical and educational aid to individuals, hospitals, schools, the homeless & rehabilitation centers.
Services they offer
- Blue Fields (Supporting education, meals and health programs.)
- L.I.A.M (Learning Innovations for Autism Management. The LIAM Project).
- Open Arms (Supporting Mental Health).
Visit the website.
What is the Autism Association in Jamaica?
The Jamaica Autism Support Association (JASA) is a support group for parents of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
How common is autism?
Autism is one of the four primary developmental disabilities and occurs in 1 out of every 68 births.
Who is affected by autism?
Autism affects people worldwide, regardless of their race, nationality, or social status.
What is the most common problem in autism?
Individuals with autism have extreme difficulty learning language and social skills, as well as relating to people.
Can people with autism be helped?
Yes, autism is treatable. Studies indicate that people with autism can significantly improve with proper instruction and educational intervention.
Many of them eventually become more responsive to others as they learn to understand the world around them.
Although there are limited resources for Autism education in Jamaica, some organizations are working towards improving the situation.
For instance, the Jamaica Autism Support Association has been advocating for more resources for Autism education, including the establishment of specialized schools for children with Autism.
Check out the 9 Top Autism Schools in Indiana and What They Offer.