Ambassador Athanasius meets autism advocacy project committee


Monday’s meeting in progress

Ambassador Athanasius, who is also a paediatrician consultant, was recently appointed advisor to the project by the First Lady and chairperson of the Seychelles Children’s Foundation, Natalie Michel.

Mrs Michel, who has been the patron for autism in Seychelles since February 2009, initiated the Autism Advocacy project in 2011. In April this year, Mrs Michel signed an agreement on behalf of the Seychelles Children’s Foundation, with JOUEL of Kenwyn House, represented by the company’s managing director, Rod Thorrington. The agreement committed JOUEL to a two-year sponsorship of the project. The project’s key strategies are: advocacy, awareness, support and research.

Ambassador Athanasius’ role is to advise the First Lady on matters concerning autism, as well as advising the project committee and the Parents’ Support Group.

Monday’s meeting focussed on the forthcoming training in the use of the autism assessment tools that have been brought from the USA with the aim of conducting early diagnosis of autism in children.

The assessment tools have been purchased through the JOUEL sponsorship and an intensive training workshop is going to be conducted by Dr Kelly Yost from the University of Rochester, USA.
Dr Yost, who arrived in the country during the weekend, is also involved with the ongoing child development study supported by the University of Rochester and the Ministry of Health. He will conduct the training in the use of the autism assessment tools from October 15-26, 2012 with a core group of professionals who are involved in the care of children with autism.

Both Ambassador Athanasius and Dr Yost will also be meeting the Parents’ Support Group and other interested parents during the course of the month.

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