Indian Merchants Association donates school supplies to kids with autism

POSTED: 09/1/11 3:06 PM

St. Maarten – Last Tuesday members of the Indian Merchants Association visited the AHEAD Centre of Excellence in Sucker Garden to see firsthand how the students were benefiting from some of the new materials which were recently donated to the school. During Autism Awareness Month in April, IMA helped sponsor a kids’ fashion show which raised proceeds for the school. In addition to the proceeds from that event, several IMA-members made private donations all of which were used towards the purchase of McGraw Hill Reading Materials and Leapfrog Learning Materials.
“The children have shown so much enthusiasm for learning with the new Leapfrog materials that we have seen a remarkable improvement in their learning skills even though they have only been using them for a short while” Said Teacher Odessa of the Early Childhood Learning class
The AHEAD Centre of Excellence was founded in 2008 by Pastor Allan and his wife Aster. The school currently has 50 students all of whom have some form of learning disability; the most common symptoms are attention deficit disorder and autism. Currently the school does not receive any government subsidy and relies on donations from within the community and tuition fees, however Pastor Allan pointed out that many of the children’s parents are unable to afford the full tuition.
“The children with special needs are very close to the heart of the IMA, we feel strongly about the importance for Autism Awareness, and we fully support those within the community who need help…” said IMA President Danny Ramchandani. The exact cause for Autism is still unknown, but it is estimated that close to 10 million children worldwide are affected, making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined.

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