Eagle Beach — Awareness of Autism begins the moment one grasps a new definition for amazing, that “normal” is just an electric setting, that one’s view of the world is not the only view that exists, that sometimes we judge people before we truly understand them, that sometimes what we can’t see with our own eyes are the things we need to really use our hearts to understand.
With this thinking in mind The Green & Health Committee and the department of Human Resources, in collaboration with colleague Maureen Kelly, who is the mother of an autistic daughter, held a meaningful afternoon for resort associates that included the participation of a group of 8 autistic children with their parents and school Principal Marta Vallejo.
Those in attendance were also honored with the presence of Drs. Paul Croes, the Minister of Social, Youth and Labor Affairs, William Mosconi, President of the Cooperative Association and his spouse and General Manager Joe Najjar.
The program was expertly conducted by a 15 year old emcee, Bryan Lesire. Bryan opened the program by inviting maestro Eduardo Maya to accompany the children’s choir in singing an impressive rendition of the Aruba Dushi Tera anthem.
Maureen was next on stage, sharing that Autism Awareness Day is designed to educate society. All children are unique, she explained, and therefore different. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness, early diagnosis and access to appropriate services and supports lead to significantly improved outcomes. Acceptance, understanding, much love and never giving up on children is what keeps parents going.
As per Minister Croes, Autism Day is a very important day for parents of autistic children. The world pays attention today to these unique, individuals. He spoke about the importance of including these distinct, but talented children in our community. Acceptance is the first step that opens opportunities to find support and help them reach their potential. Aruba is in the beginning stage compared to other countries who already have programs in place to provide care, direction, support and development to those with special needs. The minister expressed his wish to see the Aruban community reach a culture of acceptance. He congratulated the resort and thanked La Cabana’s associates for taking the initiative of organizing a dedicated program. He had encouraging words for the parents who work hard to ensure that children get optimum care in the community.
The children sang 4 Karaoke songs and persuaded all presents to participate in a “work out” song. The school principal invited the audience to watch the PowerPoint presentation she prepared to showcase the positive aspect of how feasible and necessary it is to integrate autistic children in our community.
The presentation illustrated the many activities, educational and fun for children and their parents. She later invited all to visit the mini-exposition of colorful paintings made by the budding artists.
Our community can make a better world for those with autism and their families, through awareness and education.