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Packed seminars help raise awareness of autism

Autism Seminar 31-01-2018 (Photo John Bugeja) in the understanding of maximising Communication Opportunities. Opened by Hon Samantha Sacramento.

Over 250 people have attended the latest sessions in the ‘Understanding Autism’ series organised by the Ministry of Equality as part of Gibraltar autism strategy.

The five lectures – entitled “Maximising Communication Opportunities for Children and Young Adults with Autism” – were delivered by Gaynor Vatvani, the Head of Speech and Language Therapy Service at the Gibraltar Health Authority.

As with all other seminars organised under the National Autism Strategy, some sessions catered especially for parents, family members and volunteers, while others were directed to professionals, frontline staff and civil servants in management positions.

“Communication is about who you really are as a person,” said Samantha Sacramento, the Minister for Equality.

“It is important for children and young adults with autism to be able to show other people their feelings, personality and ideas.”

“In order to be able to successfully achieve this, they must have the right tools and support to develop functional communication skills.”

“What better than to have a holistic approach were both family members and professionals that may be part of an individual’s environment, all benefit from the same knowledge in applying best practices?”

“The feedback on our sessions has once again been overwhelmingly positive. I am also absolutely delighted that for the first time in this series we have had a local professional deliver the training.”

“Gaynor is an extremely dedicated professional who also, as part of her role in the multi-agency strategy working group which I chair, has been very influential in the forming of our policies.”

“I wish to thank Gaynor for her excellent delivery of this important subject this week and of course my motivated team at the Ministry of Equality.”

Ms Sacramento said the ministry and its officials strive to raise awareness and to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

“They work tirelessly to bring equality to the doorstep of our society, paving the way for a more inclusive society,” she said, adding that further seminars were planned in future.

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