Autistic Student Receives Literacy Award

BVI Platinum News | 3 Opinions
Published: March 20, 2017 2:34 pm AST
BVIRC Literacy Award Recipient, Keden Ortiz pictured with both his mother and father.
Photo Credit: Provided
Keden Ortiz, a grade one student of the Joyce Samuel Primary School is the recipient of the BVI Reading Council’s (BVIRC) 2017 Literacy Award.

According to the Ministry of Education, Keden was recently awarded during a ceremony held at the Joyce Samuel Primary School.

Founding President of the BVIRC, Mrs. H. Lynden Smith and President of the BVIRC, Ms. Kirima Forbes were present to award Keden for overcoming learning difficulties and challenges with reading.

Programme Director of the BVI Autism Centre, Ms. Lorna Dawson said that Keden’s award speaks volumes to the positive impact of collaboration in the education of children, regardless of what challenges they may face.

Ms. Dawson said, “When we first began working with Keden, his primary way of communicating was with gestures and the tantrums were something else, especially when he had to change an activity. However, with the support of his parents, especially his father, who faithfully brought him to the Autism Centre for Developmental and Speech Therapy, we began to see changes in Keden.”

Ms. Dawson explained that the Autism Centre facilitated Keden’s entrance into pre-school and primary school, and offered support and training for the teachers along the way.

She said, “The collaborative efforts are paying off and we expect to see Keden continue to excel. I must commend his parents and extended family, his speech pathologist, his teachers at Vision Child Development Centre and his teachers at Joyce Samuel for all their efforts.”

Photo Credit: Provided
Ms. Dawson further thanked the staff at the Autism Centre who worked with Keden over the years. Those persons included former Special Education Teacher, Mrs. Sara Husein; Programme Aide, Mrs. Natalie Pickering; and other staff members as well as volunteers who played a part in Keden’s development.

Principal of the Joyce Samuel Primary School, Mrs. Orlandette Crabbe said that she has seen significant changes to the school since Keden became a part of the institution, as the student body has embraced him with open arms and are protective of him.

The BVIRC Literacy Award was instituted in 2002 to award students who have succeeded in overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges. The award is given as part of the council’s annual observance of International Literacy Day on September 8 and has had a total of ten recipients thus far.

The BVI Reading Council was established as a non-profit, voluntary, professional organisation with a mandate to foster the love of reading throughout the Territory. The council works alongside the Ministry of Education and Culture to fulfil its mandate.
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