Local Stakeholders in Early Childhood Education braced the inclement weather to meet at the Methodist Church Hall on 28th September 2018 for a national consultation on “Early Identification and Intervention for Delays and Disabilities in the Early Years.”
The consultation is an initiative of the Ministry of Education, National Reconciliation, Ecclesiastical Affairs & Information, in collaboration with UNICEF.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the consultation, Chief Education Officer, Ms. Beverly Neptune, said that, while all children should be screened for developmental delays, there are cases where such delays are identified in children when they are much older, causing them to miss all the important interventions, which should be taken. The Chief Education Officer hailed the consultation as an important one for all actors and agencies involved in early childhood, but also stressed that the involvement of families must be key in any plan for the successful identification and implementation of developmental delays in children in their early years.
Chief Education Officer, Beverly Neptune
Ms. Shelly-Ann Harper, UNICEF’s Representative, in highlighting the importance of the consultation in her remarks, said that the period from birth to three years old is critical in a child’s development, and that the earlier a disability is detected and an intervention made, the better it would be for the development of the child. Ms. Harper said that the consultation aims to look at the systems already in place in SVG to identify delays and disabilities in the early years, and to point out existing gaps, so that necessary measures could be taken.
Dr. Maureen Samms-Vaughan, Professor of Child Health and Child Development and Behaviour at the UWI was the Facilitator of the one-day consultation. Some of the areas covered included “Vision for a comprehensive, equitable screening, referral, diagnostic and intervention system for young children in SVG"; "Existing strengths for implementation, and Barriers to implementing systems".
Dr. Maureen Samms-Vaughan, Facilitator