The University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) hosted a special ceremony for the official launch of the Shelly Ann Fraser Assessment Centre for Children – a unit within the College of Health Sciences, on Monday, December 10, 2012.
Located to the North of UTech’s Papine campus, adjacent to the Cynthia Shako Early Childhood Education & Daycare Centre, the Shelly Ann Fraser Assessment Centre for Children was established against the immense global recognition of the need to improve the assessment and management of children with exceptionalities.
The Centre was named in tribute to Mrs. Shelly-Ann Fraser- Pryce who recently graduated from UTech with the Bachelor of Science in Child and Adolescent Development, as an acknowledgement of her passion and commitment to working with children and to memorialize her contribution to the University and to Jamaica. She was also recently named first UTech Ambassador.
In his welcome, Prof. the Hon. Errol Morrison, OJ, President, UTech thanked Shelly- Ann for lending her name to the institution without hesitation and the College of Health Sciences team led by Dean, Dr. Ellen Campbell-Grizzle for embracing the vision for the establishment of the assessment centre. The President noted that the new addition complements the total service outreach offered by the College of Health Sciences and by UTech. The Cynthia Shako Day Care Centre also now caters to the needs of wards from the Mustard Seed Community.
Dr. Ellen Campbell-Grizzle echoed profound appreciation to Shelly-Ann, noting that as part of the University’s mandate the assessment centre will “stimulate positive change in the Caribbean society and assist through the provision of more substantial private care services that support teaching, learning and research opportunities for our communities.”
The Very Rev. Msgr. Hon. Gregory Ramkissoon, OJ, Founder and Executive Director of the Mustard Seed Communities who brought greetings, extended his gratitude to the University and to Shelly-Ann for courageously partnering with institutions that care for disabled children and noted that this gesture needs to be widely practiced so that Jamaica can better serve the needs of those who are ‘challenged’.
He emphasized that these children are the “conscience of our society” who provide us with “the direction we should go and the direction we should stay clear of, ” adding that Shelly-Ann’s association with the institution will bring a wealth of growth to the lives of the children served by the Assessment Centre as well as the Day Care Centre.
Speaking to the vision for the assessment centre, Mrs. Karyl Powell Booth, Programme Director, Child & Adolescent Development explained that it will serve the needs of the Jamaican society by making psychological assessment available to the public, internal clients and UTech students, some of whom have never been assessed but who have ‘exceptionalities’.
She explained that these include persons with intellectual and learning disabilities, ADHD, autism, hearing and visual impairment, multiple disabilities as well as the gifted and talented.
Lamenting the dearth of such available facilities in Jamaica that provide psychological assessment and intervention services, Mrs. Powell-Booth said that as “the People’s University”, UTech saw it as an obligation to provide solutions to problems impacting the nation’s children. The services offered by the Centre will include:
· Screening and identification
· Determine eligibility for Special Education
· Determine prevalence rates of disorders
· Instructional Planning
· Evaluation of student progress
· Assist parents with understanding what is wrong and how to resolve it
· Increase public awareness to break down barriers, fear and taboo
Mrs. Powell Booth also announced plans for the pending UTech Counseling Rehabilitation Centre and for a satellite assessment centre to serve the needs of western Jamaica.