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In Dire Need for Support: Autism a Costly Diagnosis, Full of Hurdles for Jamaican Families

April 7, 2024

Jamaica’s lack of support for autism diagnoses leaves families, communities and children with a rough path moving forward Autism is a costly diagnosis for a child in Jamaica. A recent article by Lisa Hanna, a Member of Parliament for St Ann South Eastern, People’s National Party spokesperson on foreign affairs and foreign trade, and a…

Helping Children Integrate Primitive Reflexes

February 18, 2024

What are primitive reflexes? Primitive reflexes are the reflex actions that arise from the Central Nervous System (CNS). Primitive reflexes are typically present in childhood, but not present in healthy or neurological intact adults. Primitive reflexes are movement patterns that are involuntarily elicited in newborns to enhance chances of survival. During normal development, these reflexes…

Letter of Medical Necessity 101

January 25, 2024

There are many wonderful developments in our modern world that enhance the quality of life for special needs youth. Access to these tools can be a huge barrier for many children, which is of course the basis of our programming! Insurance can help many families access some of these enhancements, and many are unaware that…

The Importance of Supportive Standing for Children with Mobility Disabilities

January 3, 2024

Thank you to Rifton for Giving the Gift of Supportive Standing to Smile A While Foundation What is Supportive Standing? For individuals with a physical disability, the ability to stand may not be possible without an assistive device. Supported-standing is defined as using a device to maintain an aligned, upright, weight-bearing position. These assistive devices…

Therapy to Thrive: The Sponsored Therapist

December 4, 2023

Special Needs Children Need Therapy to Thrive Occupational therapy (OT) plays a significant role in supporting children with special needs. Its impact on these children can be profound and multifaceted, addressing various aspects of their development. Here are several ways occupational therapy can positively impact special needs children including; sensory processing, fine and gross motor…

Building Brighter Futures, Together.

October 16, 2023

In the world of nonprofits, success is often the result of collaboration, dedication, and a shared vision. As we enter the end-of-year season, our organization is reflecting on the incredible partners who have stood by us, believed in our mission, and supported us this past year. Let’s take a look at our invaluable partners and…

The Role of Occupational Therapy in Schools

October 6, 2023

A new school year is underway, your child(ren) are beginning to settle into their new routine, classroom, teacher, friends, and while all of these components to school are important, your child(ren)’s ability to learn is at the top.  In May 2002, there were approximately 16,950 Occupational Therapists (OT) working in K-12 schools in the United…

ECHO Autism Role Call

September 18, 2023

Get to Know the ECHO Autism Team Expanding Access to Care  ECHO Autism is a virtual learning network of providers offering real-time access to autism and behavioral experts. In Spring 2024, Smile A While Foundation will be rolling out ECHO Autism Jamaica to expand access to therapy resources for special needs children and families. The…

The Lost Children: Where’s the Data?

July 28, 2023

Highlighting the importance of keeping better data on special needs children in Jamaica.   The Jamaican Population Census of 2001 noted that there were 162,800 persons who self-identified as having a disability in Jamaica. Children under 14 make 21% of that population (Unicef, 2018) and yet information about how these children are impacted, and whether…

New Partnership with ECHO Autism To Move Knowledge, Not People

July 6, 2023

Smile A While’s new program as part of ECHO Autism will connect knowledge to children and families in Jamaica for better care. Moving Knowledge, Not People  Earlier this year, our Founder and Executive Director, Joanne Oates, connected with ECHO Autism Project with a dream of bringing better care to children with autism in Jamaica.  We…