New support group of parents and friends of autistic children


The new support group in a souvenir photo with First Lady Natalie Michel and other guests at the launch of Pearl Seychelles

The launch of Pearl Seychelles took place on Tuesday at the English River health centre in the presence of First Lady Natalie Michel, ministers for Health Mitcy Larue and for Education Macsuzy Mondon and chief executive of the Seychelles Children’s Foundation Noella Gonthier.

Ambassador for women and children affairs Dr Erna Athanasius, parents, children with autism and other partners were also present.
The launch of Pearl Seychelles coincided with the International Autism Day on April 2.

The condition known as autism is a neurological disorder that has an effect on normal brain function, affecting development of a child’s communication and social interaction skills. The condition is a wide-spectrum disorder, which means that no two people with autism will have exactly the same symptoms. As well as experiencing varying combinations of symptoms, some people will have mild symptoms while others will have severe ones.

Lyn Lavigne, the chairperson of Pearl Seychelles, said the association’s plan of action includes working closely with key ministries responsible for health, social affairs and education to help incorporate visits in schools to share first-hand experience with students and teachers.

She also gave details of the campaign which the group is working on to bring more awareness on autism.
“In the near future we would like to see our very own autism centre where our children can get extensive therapy, a place where they feel safe and secure – an ideal environment where they can learn and play.”

She added that the place can be where parents can meet and extend their knowledge through training and have sessions with professionals about issues affecting these children.
It can also be a place where members of the public who want to learn more about the condition can get better access.

“Autism has an impact on everyone regardless of our background and it is on the rise around the world, therefore I call on the general public to give their support,” said Ms Lavigne.
She called on everyone to wear something blue for the month of April to support the campaign and thanked Mrs Michel for her continuous support. 

Dr Athanasius also thanked Mrs Michel for her support and the active role she has played and continues to play in raising awareness of this disorder, and JOUEL for its commitment to working with the foundation on the autism advocacy project.

JOUEL and the foundation will continue to focus on supporting the professional development of service providers among other aspects of the project, she added.