About McCam

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Kingston, Jamaica
McCam Child Development Centre is the first Inclusive Early Childhood Programme in Jamaica opened since March 1986. The need for this service was determined as the founder, Mrs. Pauline Watson Campbell, an occupational therapist attached to the Mico CARE Centre, realised the loss of years of meaningful intervention for children 0 – 6 years with special needs. Children had to be 5 years and older to be seen at that institution. Some of the services we offer are: A diagnostic kindergarten /grade 1 programme • Developmental assessments • Occupational Therapy & Psycho Educational Assessments and Therapy • After school tutoring • Behavioural Therapy • Special Education Intervention • Speech & Language Assessment and Therapy It has been our mission “To work in collaboration with other persons, agencies and government institutions to impact positively on the lives of children and the families of children with exceptionalities, through the education of young children, their parents, teachers and the community.”

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Webinar Series

Today at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 pm McCam Centre is presenting the following webinars. 

Register Today!!!

Date/Time: 10/23/2014 1:30 PM EST 

Registration is required to join this meeting. Click here to register: ADHD and Autism: Making a differential diagnosis Registration

Presenter: Dr. Andrea Garbutt, Developmental Pediatrician
Note: If you are using Gmail and Internet Explorer 9, please copy and paste this meeting link https://mccamcentre.megameeting.com/guest/?id=2003-248403 into your browser.

Date/Time: October 23, 2014 at 3:00 PM 

The presenter will be Mrs. Kellie-Anne Brown Campbell, School Psychologist
Note: If you are using Gmail and Internet Explorer 9, please copy and paste this meeting link https://mccamcentre.megameeting.com/registration/?id=2003-248414 into your browser.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Autism In the Classroom

“If they can't learn the way we teach, we teach the way they learn” - O. Ivar Lovaas

In March 2012, Centre for Disease Control reported that the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) was 1 in every 88 children. With this startling report of very high incidence of the disorder, it is now more likely than before that children with ASD will likely have to be served in the mainstream classroom in one way or another. It is important, however, that an appropriate programme is developed for these children, taking into consideration their special learning needs.

In Jamaica, a select number of schools offer spaces to children with ASD, with many of these schools recommending that these children be accompanied by a “Shadow”. What is most important, however, is that students with ASD, once in a school setting have a specially developed Individual Education Plan (IEP) that outlines specific and individualized goals and objectives for that student. From this IEP, parents should ensure that goals and objectives developed are targeting key areas of weakness, as well as enhancing any areas of strength. It is important that parents are made a part of the process of development and monitoring of progress of the IEP. Also, it is highly recommended that parents are encouraged and empowered to carry out activities at home with their child which will corroborate with what is also done at school.

The classroom environment for the child with ASD must be highly visual, with lessons and even instructions given having at the core of them the use of visuals, especially for children who are nonverbal. Teachers should ensure that these classes are highly structured with routines and organized with pre-planned rules.

It is very important that a student with autism is given achievable assignments, that will not incite frustration, but also pose an appropriate degree of challenge to ensure that they are learning and growing. Schedules help reduce the stress associated with these feelings and increase a student’s opportunities for success. A schedule enables students to keep track of the day’s events and activities as well as develop an understanding of time frames and an appreciation of environmental sequences.  

The child with ASD in the classroom should be given the best opportunities to learn alongside their typically developing peers. Although a fair percentage of children with ASD will have cognitive and learning disabilities, if they are taught using appropriate strategies and appropriate accommodations are made within the classroom to suit their needs, they can successfully learn and maximize their highest potential.

Monday, September 24, 2012

When To Seek Help

Parents often worry whether their children are meeting appropriate developmental milestones. Many times those worries and fears are allayed with the realization that children develop at different rates, and providing a supportive and loving environment is the best way to foster growth. There are situations, however, in which a child’s development, academic progress or behaviour is outside the established limits for what is considered typical. Below is an overview of various types of assessments, and when parents should consider seeking a professional evaluation.
Psycho-Educational Assessment: Is your child having difficulty learning or keeping up in a particular subject area? Does your child’s teacher complain that he/she displays challenges remaining seated, sustaining attention, following directions or complying with rules? If so, a psycho-educational assessment is critical in identifying whether your child has a learning disability or other disorder that may be negatively impacting his/her academic functioning. A psycho-educational assessment is aimed at providing a thorough assessment of a child’s cognitive abilities (memory, language, visual processing etc.) and academic skills (reading, writing, mathematic etc.). After determining your child’s learning style and his/her strengths and weaknesses, the psychologist will develop an intervention programme including but not limited to: identification of optimal modes of instruction, an individual education plan, classroom accommodations, teaching modifications and recommendations for behaviour management
Occupational Therapy Assessment: If your child displays difficulty with tying his/her shoelaces, writing tasks, or shows sensitivity to particular sounds, tastes or textures, he/she may benefit from an assessment by an occupational therapist.  The occupational therapist will determine whether your child will benefit from a programme aimed at fine motor skill strengthening, sensory integration, improvement of balance and coordination, or other areas that may be affecting your child's ability to perform daily activities associated with self-care, school and home.
Speech and Language Assessment: If your child has difficulty pronouncing words clearly, communicating with peers and family members, forming phrases or sentences correctly, or other speech and language related issues, a thorough speech evaluation by a speech and language pathologist should be considered. Difficulties with speech can be isolated or related to other developmental challenges, and should therefore be given appropriate attention.
Developmental Assessment: If you are concerned that your child has not yet met common developmental milestones, you may consider seeking a developmental assessment to investigate how your child is performing relative to typically developing children of comparable age. If it is determined that your child is not meeting milestones as expected, an intervention program can be created by the developmental specialist to address your child’s weaknesses.
Personality/Emotional Assessment: If your child has difficulty coping with or appropriately expressing emotions (anger, sadness, fear etc.), displays low self-esteem or anxiety, has sudden changes in mood such as becoming withdrawn or very clingy, or has difficulty adjusting to a major life event; you should consider a personality/emotional assessment to explore your child's personality and any atypical behaviors that may be occurring. The psychologist will determine if the child meets specific diagnostic criteria, and provide recommendations for interventions aimed at improving your child’s functioning.

Reference: Psychological Assessments: Which one does your child need? Lucile Lynch. March 2012. 

Please note that when seeking help for your child you ensure that the appropriate clinician sees your child; and that clinician is properly qualified.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

ADHD Prevalence Study in Jamaica

Prevalence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in students, 4-15 years, attending rural and urban schools In Jamaica

(A study commissioned by the Mc Cam Child Development and Resource Centre)

One of the most frequently diagnosed mental health problems of children globally is Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a major concern of child health specialists and educators because it typically undermines a child’s learning potential and impairs social skills and behaviour.

This study sought to determine the prevalence of ADHD in Jamaican students, using a purposive sample of 243 pre-school to secondary level students, 4 – 15 years, attending urban and rural schools in Jamaica. Standardised assessments of behaviours specific to ADHD completed by parents and teachers were used to identify ADHD along with in-depth interviews with parents.

The results indicate almost a quarter of the sample (19.6%) had significantly high symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity-impulsivity as reported by either parent or teacher, with a 3% prevalence rate of the disorder; a rate that is similar to that reported in the international literature. While ADHD symptoms were not found to be related to socio-economic differences, students in urban schools, particularly those in inner city communities, were more likely to be rated as having ADHD symptoms. Teachers were also more likely to rate boys as hyperactive and/or impulsive than girls. Exposure to violence was identified as a key contributing factor why students in inner city schools were more likely to have ADHD symptoms. Medical factors associated with symptom presentation were not strong, with only maternal stress during pregnancy being associated with ADHD symptoms. Of significant association also was a family history of attention problems and hyperactivity as well as family history of drug abuse. Children with ADHD symptoms were also more likely to be in families where there was excessive family conflict, aggressive outbursts among family members and to be physically or emotionally abused.

We also found these students to be more likely held back in class, suspended from school and their parents called in for special conferencing. While students with ADHD symptoms were no more likely than others to get adequate resource help in the classroom, they were however getting extra help in literacy.

These results indicate that students with ADHD symptoms who do not meet the diagnostic criteria of the disorder nonetheless need to be managed. Particular attention and resource help need to be paid to schools in inner city communities but in general, conflict-free and healthy family life habits beginning from pregnancy need to be promoted.

Dr Audrey M Pottinger, PhD

The University of the West Indies

Friday, March 12, 2010

Occupational Therapist - The Advocate Part II

This blog is Part II of previously posted blog.

"The Role of Occupational Therapists as advocates for persons with disabilities (PWDs) – a report on promoting SRH for AWDs in Jamaica"

The following report is an example of the role that I was asked to play as an occupational therapist in making a difference in the delivery of health care to adolescents with disabilities. In advocating for this change, I had to engage providers at all levels, that is, from the community to the policy level and vice versa.

In 2003, the GOJ/EC/UNFPA agreed on an approach to poverty alleviation and a millennium goal which involved the introduction of contraceptives in family planning, the safe delivery of babies for both mother and baby and the control of STIs . The youths were targeted as a core group to be educated on issues related to their sexual and reproductive health and to advocate for the practice of safe sex. For the first time, this national programme also included adolescents with disabilities since persons within the disability sector continued to advocate strongly for inclusion. Afterall, AWDs also had the same challenges, and in some cases more so, to their sexual and reproductive health. Subsequent research conducted among adolescents with disabilities by the Jamaican Association on Mental Retardation revealed that –

Children with disabilities are at high risk for sexual molestation and abuse by care givers and family members (JAMR, 2005).

It was also discovered that the inclusive practices of some disability groups such as the deaf, made their members particularly susceptible to the spread of STIs. What did these adolescents know about their sexual and reproductive health and what were the obstacles to their accessing health care services?
Three agencies were given the responsibility to investigate these obstacles and to determine a way forward for AWDs which considers equality in accessing SRH services and the fulfillment of their expectations as citizens.

My agency’s mandate was –‘to build the capacity of providers of SRH services to deliver equitable, gender sensitive, high quality services to AWDs’.

It was widely speculated that in mainstream health care in Jamaica, providers of services were not inclined to consider the needs of persons with disabilities as they plan and execute their delivery of health care services for the ‘whole’ community. There was genuine ignoranceThe only effective approach that we could use to fuel our arguments was from a human rights perspective. - for nurses and doctors this was a perspective that could be readily understood since their oath of practice prepares them to act without prejudice when responding to the needs of patients. The members of the health team to be targeted included:
* Community Health Aides
* Registered Nurses
* Public Health Nurses
* Registered Midwife
* Enrolled Assistant Nurse
* Family Nurse Practitioner
* General Practitioner
* Contact Investigator
* Dental Nurses/Assistant
* Health Educator
* Other – the receptionist, the porter, the security guard in the clinics and hospitals
If we were to advocate effectively for improved SRH services for AWDs we had to hear from the stakeholders, that is, the AWDs as well as the providers of the SRH services. As Advocates, we must know the facts and not make assumptions. about the diverse needs of persons with disabilities, including their sexual and reproductive health needs. The planning of health care services for AWDs would have to transcend institutional, personal and environmental barriers.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Occupational Therapist - The Advocate Part I

This blog is a paper wirtten by the Programme Director of McCam Centre Mrs. Pauline Watson Campbell, OT MSc, for the 9th Biennual Conference on Occupational Therapy presented by the Assocation Of Caribbean Occupational Therapist (ACOT).

"The Role of Occupational Therapists as advocates for persons with disabilities (PWDs) – a report on promoting SRH for AWDs in Jamaica"

This paper is not based on a theoretical model or framework. It is a composite of my experience as an advocate for persons with disabilities in Jamaica. It is clear to me that as an occupational therapist in a situation where there are limited resources and ignorance surrounding the needs of persons with disabilities, one cannot avoid adopting an attitude of advocating for improvement in the situation surrounding people’s lives.

Advocacy is the pursuit of influencing outcomes — including public-policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions — that directly affect people’s current lives. (Cohen, 2001)

Therefore, advocacy can be seen as a deliberate process of speaking out on issues of concern in order to exert some influence on behalf of ideas or persons. Advocacy has many interpretations depending on the issue at stake ……

The World Health Organization has advanced a definition of disability which confirms that the approach of occupational therapy, which has always maintained a focus on removing barriers to functional living for persons with disabilities, is indeed the correct approach. Occupational Therapists are educated to appreciate the matrix of the physical, mental, psychosocial and spiritual factors that co-exists in any client’s experience of disability. It is never only about the client’s ability to be independent but also about removing social and environmental barriers that depreciate the quality of a person’s life, so enhancing the individual’s ability to take full control of his/her life, giving him/her the required support to pursue a chosen lifestyle.

Therefore the occupational therapist consistently advocates for the best possible situation for the client by making recommendations for change that will facilitate optimal, independent living and the continuance of roles and habits that are the essence of persons’ lives such as being a homemaker, socializing with friends or attending worship service. Let me mention here that as members of the OTAJ we have been making inroads in our individual churches as we advocate for an environment for worship that will accommodate ‘all who will’ to come and be ….. At a practical level this means that persons with disabilities should find that they can enter the sanctuary, access toilets, share in the service through sign language, braille or large print. The whole congregation must be sensitized to the diverse needs of persons with disabilities who may become members of their church. It is our intention to take our ideas to the Jamaica Council of Churches so as to expand our reach to a greater number of member churches.

The occupational therapist understands that creating a partnership with the client is important as together they explore the possibilities and the challenges of being disabled- the implications within the home, social settings, the place of work for the adult or school for the child. It is typical for the occupational therapist to ask ….how can this person live as complete a life as possible (complete being determined by the client)?…what are the obstacles that must be eliminated to allow this to happen? What does the client see as a goal to be achieved in the immediate and in the long term? How can I help this person to achieve that goal? The occupational therapist realizes that the motivation to be successful in any domain of human existence requires effort and drive and a willingness to overcome real and imagined obstacles. The challenges are likely to be multiplied for the disabled person.

Therefore, the client must be motivated to want to overcome the challenges. I suggest that this is where the occupational therapist often has to begin to advocate - To advocate at this personal level, the client must believe that that opportunities will eventually outstrip the barriers. This is particularly true as the individual goes through the stages of acceptance of his/her disability or parents, that of their child. I have sometimes had to argue on behalf of the child whose mother wants to give up because she perceives that she is alone in her struggles and she does not see a future for this child living with her. What of this child’s right to realize her potential in a loving, caring home? The situation of single mothers in Jamaica is of particular significance as we contemplate this reality. A large percentage of our families in Jamaica are headed by single parents, in particular, single mothers. The structure of families has changed and the extended family is no longer a certainly to give support and well needed respite at timely intervals. Single mothers who have migrated to the city face even greater challenges. The occupational therapist in directing this mother to the services that she needs for her disabled child, must seek to empower her to be positive in her thinking, to be determined in struggles and to achieve a balance in her life which ultimately affects the quality of her life and therefore that of her child.

My advice to all parents of children with disabilities is always to 1.‘fight for the right’ of your children to a life that is not less than but equal to that of their peers., 2.to bond with other parents so that they can support each other and 3.to be united in their appeal for services. Many parents do not know of the existence of services or are reluctant to go public with their situations. I have had many persuasive discussions with mothers who for instance refuse to go to the family court to see redress from fathers who have neglected their children ….although they struggle to make the cost of services and in some cases must deny their children therapeutic intervention, they are reluctant to exercise their right to support in court.

As a paediatric occupational therapist, I make the necessary links between the Government agencies in health, education and social services, voluntary organizations, service clubs and other agencies. The advantages of practicing in a fairly small country like Jamaica are that 1. We can work closely with persons who can influence change 2. We can network effectively since the circle is smaller and it is not difficult to get to the top of the ladder if we persist long enough.
For example, we have made a positive move towards a holistic approach to meeting the needs of our children in Jamaica through the establishment of a Early Childhood Commission to include the Ministry of Justice and Local Government in providing a more comprehensive offering of services. It will be sometime before we will have a cadre of OTs in health, education and social services, however, we can now advocate on behalf of a child for services at all levels, from the tertiary /institutional level to the community.

Here, I pause to acknowledge the work of the members of the OTAJ who have for the past 30 years, have been relentless in the struggle for an education programme in occupational therapy in Jamaica. We have written many proposals, spent days in dialogue with Government and institutions. We have been angry, but we have never given up the cause. Today, the reality of the years of advocating for this development seems to have born fruit. We hope to see a programme in occupational therapy within the next 2 years under the faculty of medical sciences at the UWI.

Jamaica is signatory to several international agreements or non-binding resolutions that reference the Human rights of persons with disabilities. These include:
* The Convention on the Rights of the Child (1991).
* The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1976),
* The Universal Declaration on Human Rights and
* The Economic Social and Cultural Rights (1976).
* International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006)

Our National Policy on Disability provides guidelines based on the requirements of the U.N. Standard Rules - reduces the risk of social exclusion although there are no legal sanctions.

A National Disability Act is being drafted by the Central Parliamentary Counsel (CPC). The Act will Provide for the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities and for matters incidental to or connected with disability.

The occupational therapist must know the details of the Act and be prepared to pass on this information to disabled persons and their families as they advocate for their right to services. They must learn how to exercise their rights as citizens. Advocacy is a new concept for many persons in this country.

To be cont'd

Bartley M. (2007), Paper entitled Disability Rights presented at workshop for providers of health services, social workers and guidance counselors.
Cohen, D., R. de la Vega , G. Watson. 2001. Advocacy for social justice. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press Inc.
Jones et. al. 1998. Sociology and Occupational Therapy, An Integrated Approach, Churchill Livingston.
WHO International Classification of Functioning retrieved from http://www.who.int/classifications/icf/en/.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Our Prayer For You

Children are unique, precious, beautiful beings who need love, understanding and protection, without which they will learn hate, prejudice and cruelty. That is why we live our motto “It is no small thing to influence a child so fresh from the hands of God.”

This past year of 2009 was simply HARD for many of us. We want to encourage you, our past & present parents, past students and supporters that the future will be what YOU will make it. Don’t give up your dreams & your dreams for your children.

Just Believe. Rejoice. Have Faith In The Almighty. Appreciate. Laugh. Share. Care. Love.