The Lands and Survey’s Department is currently reviewing a request by the Resource and Educational Source for Autism and other related Challenges in the Bahamas (R.E.A.C.H.), to grant it a parcel of land to continue its work in autism throughout the country, according to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.
At the sixth annual “Light It Up” ceremony held in Rawson Square Tuesday evening, Dr. Minnis pledged his government’s commitment to support programs aimed at helping those with special needs.
“The Department of Land and Survey has been directed to give urgent attention to your request for a parcel of land exclusively for R.E.A.C.H. operations,” he said.
“It is time for those affected, to rally and promote the work and do more to get more people involved.”
The nation’s leader added that government also intends to offer professional help to R.E.A.C.H.’s work through research and expertise.
He acknowledged that autism has quickly become one of the fastest and more common neural biological disorders, which is often characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, especially in boys.
“My government is grateful to those who championed the cause and to continue to support schools that offer help for those with autism,” he said.
“It is good to share in solidarity… know that your work is critical and it cannot be matched.”
According to R.E.A.C.H. officials, the request for the parcel of land has been on the books for quite some time.
Under the former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration, ground was broken in May 2015, for a multi-service centre for adults with developmental disabilities.
To date however, no construction has begun on the site situated off Gladstone Road. A 30-acre plot of land near the Ministry of Agriculture’s Saturday market had been identified for the facility.
Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person’s lifetime. It is characterized by varying degrees of impairment in communication skills and social abilities, and also by repetitive behaviors. Symptoms range from very mild to severe.
There is no “cure” yet for autism, but early diagnosis and intervention improves outcomes.
According to R.E.A.C.H., with appropriate specialized education, behavioral and biomedical interventions, coupled with an understanding community and adequate support services, most persons with autism can become productive, happy citizens.