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CHILE: Services to begin for students on autism spectrum

New sensory integration room to help students strengthen motor skills


(MissionNewswire) The Don Bosco School, located in Antofagasta, Chile, has opened a new sensory integration room to be used more than 200 students in the school integration program, 60 of whom are on the autism spectrum. There the Psychomotor Development Academy will help students develop and strengthen basic motor skills. The academy is run by Daisy Díaz, a physical education teacher who has experience working with children with autism spectrum disorders.

During the opening of the room, professionals, psychologists and psych-pedagogists were lauded for their work with children special needs. The new space, located next to the covered gym, received a blessing before the ribbon cutting.

Héctor Ramírez, principal of the Don Bosco School, said that this room marks an important milestone for the inclusion of students with special educational needs and emphasized how improving infrastructure can lead to more inclusive education. Karla Ruidíaz, coordinator, stressed the importance of this room for the integral development of students, both in educational terms and in terms of physical and personal well-being.

“Salesians believe that all children have a right to education,” said Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Children who fall on the autism spectrum should not be left on the fringes of their communities. They have much to contribute and we must provide them the opportunities to advance their lives and gain an education. This room is a step to help integrate and support youth.”

Salesian missionaries provide education and social development programs for poor youth in Chile. Once finished with primary and secondary school, students can advance for higher education. Salesian technical schools cater to students who have dropped out of school and are seeking a second chance. In many programs, students complete their education while engaging in internships with local employers. This increases the students’ hands-on work experience and ability to gain livable wage employment after their studies are completed.

According to the World Bank, Chile has a fairly low poverty rate of less than 10% . However, Chile struggles with high rates of income and education inequality. Salesian missionaries working in Chile focus their efforts on providing education and social services to poor and at-risk youth. At Salesian schools, universities and youth centers throughout the country, youth can access an education as well as the skills and resources necessary to break the cycle of poverty.



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ANS – Chile – The Salesians of Antofagasta open a room for students with autism spectrum disorder

Salesian Missions – Chile

World Bank – Chile