The Step by Step School in Guyana opened its doors in September 2011 to five children with autism. Since then, we have grown rapidly, trying to meet the urgent need for such an ambitious, specialized facility designed to educate children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in the country. We presently have 19 children, seven tutors and one Administrator. The Ministry of Education has recently given us land to allow us to build a bigger and better school and to admit children on our waitlist.
Run by the Step by Step Foundation, a registered charity in Guyana since 2011, the Step by Step School is listed with Guyana’s National Commission on Disabilities.
Our team and general operations are managed by our Executive Committee. Our trained tutors work very hard to ensure that each child learns the skills they need to function at their highest possible potential. Each child follows an Individualized Education Programme, based on assessment tools. The Programme is revised at regular stages, guided and overseen by our educational and behavioural consultant, Dr. James Ellis, our consultant speech pathologist, Dr Kerry Davis, and our consultant occupational therapist, Ms Jen Stornelli.
Parents play a crucial role in the development of their child. Not only do parents need to follow through with the teaching methods used at the school, but they also need to create a wholesome environment for their child’s development. The School hopes to partner with parents more effectively as resources become available in the near future. In the meantime, parents have already benefited from workshops and one-to-one chats with our consultants when they visits Guyana.
The mission of the Step by Step Foundation is to enable Guyanese children with autism and other neurological disorders to achieve their maximum potential by providing quality educational opportunities.
Sharing our Good Practice in the Community
We are still in our infancy, but we also aim to provide the following supports and outreach to parents, professionals, and the community, some of which we have already initiated:
- Articles published in local newspapers (see Publicity under News and Events)
- Talks to raise awareness of ASD in Guyana
- Training sessions for parents and teachers
- Seminars at local schools/institutions
- Establishment of links with other similar provisions locally, regionally and internationally
- Establishment of contacts with local paediatricians and a psychologist, with a view to developing the capacity to diagnose autism in Guyana