Maia Chung, the MCADF’s founder and one of Jamaica’s foremost autism advocates, made the call on Thursday while addressing an online autism seminar held by the Caribbean Autism Support for Education and The Mico University College on the Zoom platform.
“We believe there has to be some inter-ministerial efforts between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education. They need to have social support for mental health for the parents and the caregivers of autistic persons, but I do not know if we are there yet, so we as a foundation are calling for that,” Chung told the seminar.
COVER UP DIAGNOSIS
According to Chung, since 2008 when the MCADF was founded, her group has observed that parents of autistic children often try to cover up their children’s diagnosis by placing them in schools that are not suited for their needs.
“Persons here in Jamaica over the past 13 years try to put their children in schools that are not suited for them, and what happens is that these ‘camouflages’ put them against people, including children, teenagers and persons at the tertiary level, who are looking at them and treating them as if they are neurotypical people. But they are suffering inside, and this only worsens the scenario,” said Chung.