"Moving towards an independent future."

Child Development and Guidance Centre

Some of our success stories

The primary goal of the Child Development and Guidance Centre in St. Lucia is to promote the right of children to health care and education in a safe, secure and loving environment. With special needs children who are developmentally delayed or disabled, sadly one of the results often seen is that they have never been to school and have had no chance of getting an education.

Shirline was nine years old when we first met her. She was born with one leg and mild cerebral palsy. Her mother was told by all health professionals in the island that Shirline would never be able to walk. In order to get around she was "bottom shuffling" and had never gone to school.

Shirline took part in our first summer camp in 1998. Working with visiting physical therapists from the UK and Germany, within three weeks she learned to walk using crutches. She started Infant School in September 1998, and has moved on to Primary school. She loves school, can read and write, and has a chance to live a fairly normal life.

Regina was four years old when we first assessed her for developmental delays or disabilities. She did not talk, did not interact, and did not want to wear clothes. She was diagnosed as autistic and started therapy with a speech and language therapist and an occupational therapist.

As a result of the therapy she has received, Regina has learned to express basic needs, is toilet trained and attends the Infant School in Gros Islet. Her parents are very proud and very encouraged by the progress that Regina has made.

Our summer camps

Between 1998 and 2002 the Child Development and Guidance Centre conducted an annual three-week intensive summer camp for St. Lucian children with special needs. The camps, under the leadership of Dr. Brigitte Schüling, complement the year-round work of the centre.

At the 2002 Summer Camp 50 children between the ages of six months and ten years received an assessment and therapy sessions with visiting paediatric speech and language therapists, an occupational therapist and a physiotherapist. The volunteer therapists came from England and America to provide services that were not yet available in St. Lucia all year round.

A parents’ workshop was offered three times per week to discuss issues concerning their child with special needs and to receive support. The therapists also provided workshops for nurses and community health aides.

For further information or if you wish to make a contribution, please visit our contact site.

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Garth and his mother using a communication book

send email | updated 02'2005