10 NGOs that offer family support and education on autism
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. There are many types of autism caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.
The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism.
Unfortunately, there aren't many local studies to help us get a better understanding about the disorder in relation to Trinidad and Tobago, but there are a number of resources and support systems for children with autism and their families. Here are at least 10:
ASTT is a parent support group for families of persons diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). They also offer services to children and adults with ASD, as well as training.
APATT has created a comprehensive database of doctors, therapists, psychologists, educators, special needs schools and more only for the exclusive use of its members.
The Right Start Early Intervention Program is an educational program that is designed to meet the needs of learners with autism. They cater to children ages 18 months – 6 years who have been diagnosed or display characteristics of being on the autistic spectrum or have a related disability. In March, a Sensory Gym was opened to help children on the autism spectrum improve their sensory functions while providing a fun and developmental physical space.
The Blue Horse Foundation is a registered non-profit organisation that is committed to increasing the awareness of autism in Trinidad & Tobago and its effects on individuals, families and society. The non-profit relies on support from grants, in-house fundraisers and donations to provide therapy and scholarships for special education schools for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Kristy Anatol is a board-certified art therapist who works with children and families confronted with diagnoses including autism spectrum disorders, developmental and cognitive delays, and ADD/ADHD. She also provides support for children and families with behavioural and emotional regulation difficulties, trauma, bereavement, anxiety, and other emotional challenges.
Designed for neurotypical individuals, Clyniece Hodge Autism Movement Therapy is a fun sensory integrated form of therapy which utilizes dance, music and improvisation to help stimulate brain areas and also increase overall cognitive processing.
HHH provides Hippotherapy, or Therapeutic Horseback Riding to children with autism and other special needs. Hippotherapy and Animal Assisted Therapy can be very effective for improving the communications skills of children with autism and special needs, and can provide many other benefits, including improved core muscle strength, balance, and coordination, and improved social skill development in all children.
TheraplayTT is a paediatric Occupational Therapy clinic offering play-based intervention to improve the quality of life of children with different needs.
This group was established by a group of young professionals help raise funds that will assist children with autism, access therapy, educational opportunities and to provide financial and psychological support for parents, caregivers, and siblings of children with the disorder.
10. Child Space
Child Space in an online resource that provides an itemized directory of therapists, ranging from recreational, occupational, speech and music, early intervention, and more. The directory is perfect for parents who need easy access to a list of specialists based on their child's needs.
Are there any additional resources that you know about? Let us know in the comments below.