Plea for special needs school
The mother of a severely autistic boy has called for the introduction of a Bermuda Government-run special needs school.Marcia Scraders's ten-year-old son Omori has pervasive developmental disorder, which is characterised by difficulties in behaviour and communication.Omori does not talk, is not toilet trained, usually refuses to wear clothes beyond a diaper, endangers himself by climbing furniture and can behave aggressively — a problem exacerbated by his strength.“I've tried everything. I don't even know what to do,” said Mrs Scraders, who for the past six years has tried to find a school which can handle her son's complex requirements.Two years ago, Omori attended West Pembroke Primary. However, after repeatedly running away and displaying hyperactive behaviour, he left the school just four months later.He encountered similar problems at Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy, prompting his mother to take him to her native Jamaica for schooling, where he hit out at teachers.Having returned to Bermuda this month, Omori stays at home in Pembroke during the week, where Mrs Scraders — who also works as a chef at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital — and her husband Omar struggle to control their son.“I will go to the moon for Omori to get help because I can't really manage him,” said Mrs Scraders, who also has an 18-year-old daughter, Amelia Hayward.“He fights me and his sister off. She's kind of afraid of him.“Maybe because he can't talk, it brings out the anger in him. He doesn't know how to tell you what he wants, so he pushes and kicks.”On Friday, doctors at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute prescribed medication to try to calm Omori down, however, his mother has said that it has only worsened his behaviour.Staff at the wellness and outreach centre are attempting to work out how to correctly place Omori into Bermuda's education system.But Mrs Scraders, who recorded the song Autism to detail her struggles, would like the Government to offer greater assistance when it comes to the island's special needs youngsters.“Normal children get to go to school here in Bermuda for free; why should families with special needs children have to pay $300 per week for schooling?” she asked.“There are so many children born with autism. The Government should build a facility, somewhere the children can go even for a weekend.”The Ministry of Education said it would share a response with The Royal Gazette in the coming days.