FRIDAY MAY 14, 2021: PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO- Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have been known to find comfort and thrive in routines. The continued disruptions and uncertainty as a result of the ongoing pandemic have definitely presented challenges for this vulnerable group. In this regard, the Digicel Foundation under its Extraordinary Projects Impacting Communities (EPIC) Programme partnered with the Autistic Society of Trinidad and Tobago (ASTT) to support its therapeutic programme. The project was officially launched virtually on last Friday 7th May.
A grant of TT35, 000 was presented to the NGO for the purchase of therapeutic equipment for use in the organization’s therapeutic programme which targets both adults and children with autism spectrum disorder. Some of the items purchased included trampolines, an exercise bicycle, padded mats, a projector, Step-A-Stones, activity pods, yoga balls, sound tubes and a portable Bluetooth audio system. The items will now be used to engage the adults and children with ASD in music and other forms of therapy.
At the event launch, President of the Autistic Society of Trinidad and Tobago, Ms. Teresa Sieunarine shared “The Digicel Foundation has given us the ability to purchase equipment that will be used for training parents and staff and engaging the children in play, exercise and occupational therapy to help empower them to learn in an autism friendly environment.”
Penny Gomez, CEO of Digicel Foundation stated, “As a Foundation, we work assiduously to ensure that persons with disabilities are empowered and that their lives are transformed.” She continued, “It is for this reason that we were not hesitant to fund the therapeutic equipment because we are aware of the transformation it can create in the lives of the adults and children who access the therapy.”
The Autistic Society of Trinidad and Tobago (ASTT) was established on 31st May 1990 and is a non-governmental organization that is first and foremost a parent support group for families of persons diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The Autistic Society of Trinidad and Tobago (ASTT) mission is “Working together with families to help all individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders achieve their fullest potential through education, training and advocacy for affordable and appropriate quality services”
Digicel Foundation’s EPIC programme is a small- grant initiative opened to registered community groups to fund small indoor and outdoor community projects which must be completed within 6-8 weeks. To date, with an investment of TT$3.4 million they have partnered with varying community groups to implement 103 EPIC initiatives, impacting 48,977 persons throughout Trinidad and Tobago.