Carisa L:ee

Honorary board member of the Down Syndrome Family Network (DSFN) Lisa Ghany is calling for intervention from those in authority and stakeholders on the way forward, for teaching children with disabilities.

She said in the last year remote learning has not benefitted students in the group.

“It’s a very very serious situation right now with education and persons with down syndrome and disabilities,” Ghany said.

Speaking on CNC3’s the Morning Brew Programme, Ghany said a survey done by DSFN revealed that, “many students dropped off completely,” as parents struggled to teach them at home.

“Our children who have intellectual disabilities they are very tactile they learn from a lot of visual stimulus and engagement and the one on open face to face of course is extremely important to them,” she stated.

Down Syndrome is a condition in which a child is born with an extra copy of their 21st chromosome, This causes physical and mental developmental delays and disabilities.

Ghany said another set back for the students with disabilities was the lack of access to devices. She said many families were unable to purchase the tools for children to attend online classes.

“Disabled are always the first vulnerable group to be marginalised when these things happen,”Ghany said.

Head of the Cerebral Palsy Society of T&T Phillip Metivier agreed.

Speaking on the same programme Metivier said their group have been “very hard hit.”

He said in January the center (Enrichment Centre at Carlsen Field) they were occupying was closed for renovations and where they reside now is not big enough for every student especially since they’re required to socially distance.

“As we have no use of the center that we have no where and these kids, kids with cerebral palsy need a lot of physical, occupational, speech therapy,” Metivier said.

He said they have been without a space for years and asked corporate society to step in.

“We have been like orphans for 25 years, we need a home, “ he pleaded.

Metivier also questioned the treatment Cerebral palsy patients received at public hospitals.

“I am not a politician, I would never be a politician I just care for my children with cerebral palsy, “he said.

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cerebral palsy and the Coronavirus can be a deadly combination.

According to the Metivier, caregivers cannot stay with patients over 18 and end up discharging them because there is no one to take care of them and they cannot do anything for themselves.

The July 2018 National Policy on Persons with Disabilities revealed that the country has approximately 3,302 children with disabilities.