New Training and Life Opportunities for the Intellectually Disabled

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Persons 18 years of age and older who have intellectual disabilities are being invited to apply to participate in life and occupational skills training that could lead to richer and fuller lives and greater inclusion in our society. They are capable of far more than most people assume, but systems must be in place in the society if they are to reach their full potential. Those essential systems are getting a substantial improvement as the result of the European Union funded expansion of the Special Olympics Barbados Outreach and Skills Training Programme.

The Outreach and Skills Training Programme has been in operation since 2001, providing older Special Olympic athletes with a bridge to the wider community through life skills, cultural and occupational training. As a result of funding from the European Union, beginning in September, the programme, which has met on Saturdays at the St. Leonards School, will be expanded to four days a week. The programme will also find a new home in a dedicated location in the Harbour Industrial Park owned by the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation.

The expanded Outreach and Skills Training Programme, which is open to person 18 years of age and older with intellectual disabilities, who are not currently enrolled in programmes or institutions serving the intellectually disabled, will provide a variety of training opportunities. The initial syllabus includes instruction in English, Mathematics, Life Skills, Vocational Skills and Computer Studies on weekdays. Saturday classes, which are open to individuals enrolled in other programmes and institutions, will focus on the Visual Arts and Performing Arts. The Special Olympics Barbados Outreach and Skills Training Programme will progressively expand in the future to include areas such as horticulture, agriculture, business development and entrepreneurship.

Applicants accepted into the programme will be registered as Special Olympic athletes and must complete required medical forms. Application for the programme can be made on the organisation’s web site at www.specialolympicsbarbados.org or weekdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Special Olympics Office, Arbor House, #23 James Street, Bridgetown. The required medical form is only available at the Special Olympics Office. Due to the limited number of open positions in the programme, interested persons, parents and guardians are urged to apply without delay.

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