Therapy Adventures has embarked on a groundbreaking initiative to make autism screenings more accessible to children in Belize. The project, led by Grace Sporer, Lead BCBA at Therapy Adventures’ Belize clinic, aims to offer free screenings across the country, ensuring that families have the opportunity to identify potential risks and indications of autism in their children.
Recognizing the significance of early intervention, Therapy Adventures has rallied support and resources to overcome the financial barriers associated with autism screenings. By securing generous donations from companies and utilizing their own resources, Therapy Adventures has successfully built the necessary assessment kits and eliminated any charges for families.
Christy Almeida, Special Education Program Coordinator at The Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology of Belize, expressed her support for the collaboration, stating, “This initiative will bring much-needed screenings to families in Belize, enhancing early identification and intervention for children with autism.”
Prior to this initiative, families in Belize had limited options for accessing autism screenings, with only three screenings available in the entire country, all requiring payment. Additionally, one of the screenings focused solely on parents, which presented limitations in accurately assessing the child. In response, Therapy Adventures aims to supplement these existing options by offering additional screenings to ensure that all families, regardless of their financial capabilities, have access to comprehensive and reliable assessments for their children.
To ensure the effectiveness of the screenings, Therapy Adventures will be utilizing the STAT autism screening tool. STAT is an empirically derived, interactive measure that has proven effective in identifying children at an earlier age who are at risk for an autism diagnosis. Through comprehensive STAT training, officers have gained the necessary skills and knowledge to conduct accurate autism screenings, even in resource-constrained environments.
Grace Sporer, the driving force behind the initiative, expressed her determination to make a lasting impact. “By working together and leveraging community support, we aim to expand our efforts and improve the lives of children and families affected by autism in Belize,” said Sporer.
As the project gains momentum, Therapy Adventures and its partners remain committed to providing ongoing support and resources. The initiative seeks to empower families, enhance accessibility to autism screenings, and ultimately contribute to a brighter future for the autism community in Belize.