A number of students with special-needs enrolled at the Achievement Learning Centre were recognized at a special celebration ceremony held on Friday.
Special recognition was given to 18-yr-old Allister Abel, the oldest student who completed a landscaping course at the Dominica State College (DSC).
He was recognized as the first young man with Down Syndrome enrolled at the Achievement Learning Centre who will join the working world.
Abel will be employed as an intern at Jolly’s Pharmacy from August to September after which will be reviewed.
Head of the Achievement Learning Centre, Beverly Leblanc who was speaking at a ceremony held at the Achievement Learning Centre grounds in Pottersville said Hurricane Maria exposed the potential of the teachers at the school.
“After Maria, it seems that we wouldn’t have come back, but we came back and we are here and I think one of the good things that came out of Maria is the fact that the teachers really stepped up,” she said. “Maria exposed their potential they were hiding all the time.”
Meantime, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Chandler Hyacinth said the ministry caters for all students.
“We recognize that as a ministry we have to cater for all students, the gifted, the special, the slow, the average,” she said. “Your institution is catering for a special set of students and we have to give you support.”
According to Hyacinth, the Ministry of Education is also very much interested in supporting training for teachers in special education.
“We are ready to support teachers who want to do training in special Education,” she stated.
She continued, “We have already started with working with some Universities so that so that they can tailor mix their programmes to suit us.”
Hyacinth told parents that the Ministry of Education will continue to provide support to them so that children can receive an education.
“We know that the school is providing them with something, even if it is the CCSLC Exams [Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence],” Hyacinth explained. “It is a multiple choice exams, they should be able to get through with it and probably we would have to help you otherwise so that they can get the software, so that they can even do.”
She made it clear that the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) makes provision for all students to do exams at all levels.
“CXC makes provisions for students with special needs, whether it is large print paper, whether it is braille, whether it is to have somebody read for you and write for you, all that is allowed,” she noted.
Hyacinth added, “Provisions can be made for students with special needs, not just in our schools but at exams level too, so you shouldn’t be afraid for your students. Since you can push them the extra the Ministry of Education will be able to give you some support.”
She mentioned further that special arrangements have to be made for those students.
The centre also held a short cutting ribbon ceremony to officially open its new wheelchair ramp which was funded by the Australian High Commission under the Direct Aid Program.
The Learning Achievement Centre is a school for children with disabilities, teaching them not only to function in the real world but teaching them the Dominica standard curriculum as well.
Presently the school has 14 students, 9 boys and 5 girls between the ages of 6 to 18 years.