Digicel to open up a new world for special needs

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Digicel to open up a new world for special needs
Mrs. Holly Hughes-McNamara, Digicel’s Country Manager with Rachael Gaunt, the Occupational Therapist committed to the Sensory Integration Room Project in Vieux Fort.
Mrs. Holly Hughes-McNamara, Digicel’s Country Manager with Rachael Gaunt, the Occupational Therapist committed to the Sensory Integration Room Project in Vieux Fort.

Children in St Lucia with Special Needs will soon have a place where they can explore and develop their senses and skills.

This is being made possible as part of the Digicel Caring Connections programme and being done in collaboration with like-minded social partners in the field of Special Education. The new Sensory Integration Room will be located at the Special Education school in the community of Vieux-fort.

The concept of the Sensory Integration Room is quite simple; it places a person with a special need in a pleasant environment where the distractions of the outside world are completely absent. The Sensory Integration Room is usually outfitted with specialised equipment, interactive music and sounds, as well as attention grabbing colours and shapes help rehabilitate in addition to the fostering of the developmental socialization of that child.

The use of a sensory room provides a much needed multi-sensory experience of touch, movement and body awareness activities which the children are unable to access themselves due to their physical and learning disabilities. Activities in the sensory room help children with learning disabilities connect to their environment improving their quality of life.

“As persons without Special Needs we take a lot of simple things for granted and are often unaware of how complex these seemingly simple things are to persons with special needs,” said Holly Hughes-McNamara, Country Manager, Digicel St. Lucia. “It is in an effort to help persons with special needs across St Lucia to develop some of these skills that we are delighted to be able to make this facility available as part of our Digicel Caring Connections programme.

“Digicel is dedicated to improving the lives of persons with Special Needs and in our 10th year of operation here in St Lucia, it’s a fitting way to celebrate a cause we have adopted from our inception.” added Mrs. McNamara.

According to Rachael Gaunt, Occupational Therapist, “It is an honour to be part of Digicel’s Caring Connections programme. A sensory integration room on this scale is a first for the south of St Lucia. The provision of this specialist resource; a comprehensive training programme for education staff will result in creating this calm, interactive and sensory rich environment. It will help learning, attention and skill development for children with special educational needs now and for years to come.”

The Sensory Integration room anticipates to benefit not only the students of the Special School in Vieux Fort but the entire Special needs youth contingent across St. Lucia who have variety of disabilities which include Down’s syndrome, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, hearing and vision impairment and other physical and mental conditions.

Persons with Special Needs, continue to be the focus of an initiative of the Digicel Caring Connections programme which was launched in 2004. The Caring Connections Programme was successfully re-launched in November 2011 with an exclusive focus on persons with special needs. To date Digicel has supported a series of initiatives which have benefited many Special Needs persons across St. Lucia.

This year, Digicel has committed to the mobilization of specialist therapy resource, Ms Rachael Gaunt who will assist with the development of a state of the art sensory integration room which is scheduled to be opened by the end of April 2013.

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