In April 2015, National Autism Awareness Month is being observed in Saba, writes The Daily Herald. The awareness campaign is organised by Helen Hassell, a remedial Special Education teacher at Sacred Heart School in St. John’s since 2010. Hassell got experience with these kinds of campaigns when she was a teacher in New York.
This is the first time that Autism Awareness Month is organised on Saba. On March 9, Hassell introduced her ideas to the children of Sacred Heart School by giving a brief lecture about autism in each class. Questions were asked and answered, stories were read and games were played, all with the idea of creating some form of awareness about autism. Hassell noticed at the time that the message was received positively according to the questions the pupils asked during and after her presentation.
Hassell’s motto is: “We are all different, unique, and special in our own way.” For the month of April the pupils of grade one and two have coloured a great number of ribbons, which are now being displayed outside the classrooms. All the pupils of the school will participate in several activities in their classroom during the month of April after the Easter vacation. Grade three up to grade six will take part in colouring the pieces of a huge puzzle. Faculty members and staff will be involved in this activity as well. The faculty and students of Sacred Heart School hope that through increased awareness, early intervention and appropriate treatments, people with autism will be able to lead a happier and more complete life and improve their daily living skills.
“I really want the com-munity of Saba and all people in general to be more open and feel more free to talk about autism” Hassell commented to The Daily Herald. Hassell plans to continue the campaign next year and has plans to make it bigger with more people involved.