The Minister of Education, Diallo Rabain held a news conference at 11am this morning at the AB Place Media Room, where he issued the following statement on Intellectual Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month:
The Student Services section of the Department of Education provides an extensive range of educational services for our students with exceptionalities. Starting with our ASD programmes (Autism Spectrum Disorders) that are inclusive of:
- Asperger’s Syndrome;
- Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD);
- Classic Autistic Disorder; and.
- Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). Also known as Global Developmental Delays
The Department of Education currently has four primary level ASD Classes, one middle school class and one senior school class
We also provide services to students in our Functional Skills programmes, that are offered at the Pre-school, Primary, Middle and Senior levels with one class at each level. This programme services students that fall in the moderate to severe range for intellectual disabilities.
We have a dedicated team of teachers and Para-educators who support our Vison and Hearing students. They provide students and teachers with the necessary resources they need to help each student become successful members of their communities and to equip those in the visual impairment field and Deaf and hard of hearing field with readily available resources to meet the wide range of needs of the students they serve. In layman’s term these professionals level the playing field for our students, providing them with what they need to access the curriculum and daily life.
I want to bring attention to the great work being done across the Bermuda Public School System that promotes inclusion and integration for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We promote the coming together of students with and without disabilities to form strong diverse, school communities where all students learn, play and grow together.
During the school year, The Student Services team have been committed to ensuring professional development has been provided for learning support staff in our schools so that our most vulnerable students receive quality instruction and services. We partner with the Department of Health to ensure that our students receive additional services, namely Speech and Language services, Occupational therapy, and Physical therapy.
I want to highlight the phenomenal staff, teachers, and Para-Educators that work with this population. They put in a great deal of work to ensure that our students receive a quality education that provides equal access to academics, as well as Encore subjects such as Performing and Technical arts, Family studies, Business and Computer studies.
Our teachers along with various community partners such as, The BF&M No Limits Sailing Programme, Windreach, Tulo Valley Plant Nursery, Kaleidoscope Art Therapy, Yoga and Socarobics at Hindsight Fitness and Wellness, and Gardening at Government House, provide exceptional programmes for our most vulnerable population giving our students life-altering experiences. I want to say a big thank you to our community partners for all that they do for our students
I am honored that today the Minister saw fit to demonstrate and share how people with disabilities live full lives doing the same things that people without developmental disabilities enjoy while, at the same time, recognizing the barriers that they sometimes face and must overcome to participate.
In closing, The Bermuda Public School System is about inclusion, but it’s also about acceptance.