Twenty-four children who are non-verbal and on the autism spectrum are this week benefitting from individual electronic devices to support their learning, after the Malta Trust Foundation’s E3 project raised €84,283.
The augmentative communication devices have been procured and individually tailor-made for the children who were identified by the Education Department, together with Agenzija Sapport’s unit, ACTU, which will also provide personalised training.
The Trust’s E3 project — which aims to empower, encourage and educate young children with different abilities — in conjunction with the Readathon initiative, encourages schoolchildren to read, while raising money fo help fellow children with different abilities.
The project was cut short earlier this year when schools closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but together with the support of 21 of the Malta Trust Foundation’s corporate partners, enough funds were raised to ensure these children still received the tools they needed.
Malta Trust Foundation President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca said: “These electronic devices are essential to empower each child and guide them through their education, so we are grateful to all the businesses and individuals who helped us see this project through.”
Organised to coincide with World Literacy Day, marked on September 8, the tools were distributed to the children over the past two days to ensure social distancing measures were respected.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) intervention for children with complex needs helps develop their functional communication skills, promotes cognitive development, provides a foundation for literacy development and improves social communication.
This E3 project has been running in collaboration with the National Literacy Agency, the Foundation for Inclusive Technology and Accessibility, Agenzija Sapport, the Department of Speech and Language Pathologists, the Association for Speech-Language Pathologists Malta, and the Autism Parents Association-Malta.