THE University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) hosted a special ceremony for the official launch of the Shelly Ann Fraser Assessment Centre for Children — a unit within the College of Health Sciences, recently.
Located to the North of UTech's Papine campus, adjacent to the Cynthia Shako Early Childhood Education & Day Care Centre, the Shelly Ann Fraser Assessment Centre for Children was established against the immense global recognition of the need to improve the assessment and management of children with exceptionalities.
The centre was named in tribute to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who recently graduated from UTech with a Bachelor of Science degree in Child and Adolescent Development, as an acknowledgement of her passion and commitment to working with children and to memorialise her contribution to the university and to Jamaica. She was also recently named first UTech Ambassador.
In his welcome, Prof Errol Morrison, UTech's president thanked Fraser-Pryce for lending her name to the institution without hesitation and the College of Health Sciences team led by Dean, Dr Ellen Campbell-Grizzle for embracing the vision for the establishment of the assessment centre.
The president noted that the new addition complements the total service outreach offered by the College of Health Sciences and by UTech. The Cynthia Shako Day Care Centre also now caters to the needs of wards from the Mustard Seed Community.
Dr Ellen Campbell-Grizzle echoed profound appreciation to Shelly-Ann, noting that as part of the university's mandate, the assessment centre will "stimulate positive change in the Caribbean society and assist through the provision of more substantial private care services that support teaching, learning and research, opportunities for our communities".
Speaking to the vision for the assessment centre, Karyl Powell Booth, programme director, Child & Adolescent Development, explained that it will serve the needs of the Jamaican society by making psychological assessment available to the public, internal clients and UTech students, some of whom have never been assessed, but who have 'exceptionalities'.
She explained that these include persons with intellectual and learning disabilities, ADHD, autism, hearing and visual impairment, multiple disabilities as well as the gifted and talented.
Lamenting the dearth of such available facilities in Jamaica that provide psychological assessment and intervention services, Powell-Booth said that as "the People's University", UTech saw it as an obligation to provide solutions to problems impacting the nation's children.
The services offered by the Centre will include:
* Screening and identification
* Determine eligibility for special education
* Determine prevalence rates of disorders
* Instructional planning
* Evaluation of student progress
* Assist parents with understanding what is wrong and how to resolve it
* Increase public awareness to break down barriers, fear and taboo
Powell-Booth also announced plans for the pending UTech Counselling Rehabilitation Centre and for a satellite assessment centre to serve the needs of western Jamaica.
In her response, Shelly-Ann declared her love for children and the assistance they need to be good citizens. "I love children so much, because I believe that once they have the right person in their life and the right foundation from a tender age then there are limitless possibilities to what they can achieve," adding that she willingly accepted the offer to lend her name and her image to the assessment centre because she wants to be an agent of change for children.
The ceremony was well attended by representatives and caregivers from the community including Carla Francis Edie, CEO, Child Development Agency (CDA).