Autism awareness-training underway

POSTED: 11/25/14 10:14 PM

MARIGOT, St. Martin – The SXM Autism Association organizes this week and in early December autism awareness trainings in partnership with the National Education, General Social Security Fund (SSTC) of Guadeloupe and Sessad Northern Islands – a service for special education and care at home.

The training is about applied analysis of the behavior of people with autism. Provided by Stephanie Lamour psychologist EDI Training (specializing in autism and autism spectrum disorder ), this training is to bring as much information to the public, including those in contact with autism, and provide educational tools to enable teachers to provide better care to children and youth with autism, said Natacha Liénafa, president of the SXM Autism Association.

The objective is to diminish the apprehension for being in contact with autistic children and to allow adults to understand the behavior of these young people. Through this training, the SXM Autism Association wants to offer tools to all who are in contact with autism. “The goal of our association is to integrate these children and young adults in our world,” Liénafa stated in a press release. The association wants to organize the best possible training to achieve a better acceptance of autism in the community.

Since the time of its establishment in October 2013, the SXM Autism Association organizes small fundraisers to pay for the presence of a psychologist specializing in autism from Guadeloupe on St. Martin.

So far, the specialist has supported eight children. “Ideally, she should be there permanently, because the purpose of these visits is to ensure that children feel better about themselves,” says Liénafa. “The psychologist helps both children and their parents. It is essential to train parents of autistic children and teach them how to handle their child so that it can move forward. It is not always easy for parents and many of them wish to delegate certain responsibilities to specialists. But this is not possible because the child spends much more time with his family.”

The psychologist therefore offers parental guidance, spends three hours with the parents and the child and really treats problems. “Where does a crisis come from when there is one? A child’s perception of autism is not the same as ours. Which solutions are available to the parents to soothe the child and to the child to manage stress?

“Our association has three pillars: learning, socialization and independence,” Liénafa says.

Statistics about autism in St. Martin are difficult to obtain, and diagnostics are not yet sufficiently developed. The SXM Autism Association intends to create an educational center to address these issues.

The first session of the training takes places this week for teachers and Sessad staff at the MJC in Sandy Ground. Tomorrow there is a conference at the same venue from 1.30 to 4.30 p.m. focused on raising awareness.

From December 1 to 5 the second training session will take place in the conference room of the Louis Constant-Fleming Hospital. Time: 8 a.m. until 4.30 p.m.; capacity: 30 participants.

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