THE BOTTOM , Saba – Nearly a quarter century ago, the Autism Society launched an effort to promote autism awareness, inclusion and self-determination for all, and assure that each person with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is provided the opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life.
This year local educators are going beyond simply promoting autism awareness to encouraging friends and collaborators to become partners in movement toward acceptance and appreciation.
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences.
There are many types of autism; the term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism.
Helen Hassell, a special needs teacher in Saba, has invited Brazilian Jiu Jitsu coaches from St. Maarten to teach a group of special needs students a self-defense class. SXM BJJ Head Instructor Melissa Bardfield, visiting blackbelt Hugo Mayer Lima and blue belt coach Allison Deher will travel to Saba April 1-2 to teach the class.
SXM BJJ has offered free special needs self-defense classes to individuals with Autism and Down’s Syndrome since March 2016, in cooperation with the Down’s Syndrome Foundation of St. Maarten and the Sister Basilia Center. Classes are ongoing in St. Maarten on Saturdays from 10:30am-11:30am (with the exception of April 15, 22 and 29). For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (721) 544-4444.
Flights and accommodations have been sponsored by numerous businesses and community members in Saba.