Lighthouse School highlights autism in annual walk

Staff of the Lighthouse School gather at The Crescent in Camana Bay on March 30 for the annual Autism Walk. They are wearing ‘We All Fit Together’ T-shirts designed by student Brandon Jackson.

Friends, families, teachers and supporters of the Lighthouse School took part in the school’s annual Autism Walk on March 30 to help raise awareness of autism spectrum disorder.

Under the theme, ‘We All Fit Together’, scores of participants gathered at The Crescent at Camana Bay for the walk/run. Every year, the Lighthouse School and the Home School Association partner together to host this event in order to bring attention to and raise funds for essential autism spectrum disorder (ASD) programmes.

“We were thrilled with the overwhelming support we received this year,” said Sarah Caswell, occupational therapist and chairperson of the ASD Committee. “Cayman National and Water Authority have been integral in our awareness campaign as they have sponsored the event since its existence in 2014. In addition to our long-standing sponsors, we also welcomed Engel & Völkers, Harmonic, Ogier, EFG Bank, and Maples Group to the team.”

The contributions of the seven companies covered the cost of the T-shirts, which guaranteed that 100% of proceeds from the walk would go towards the continuation of essential autism programmes, she said.

Special education teacher Heather Thompson explained the importance of this funding and the dual purpose it serves in the students’ lives at Lighthouse School.

“The students’ participation in these programmes provides ample opportunities to acquire necessary life skills, while simultaneously allowing them to advocate and raise awareness for autism through their interactions with their community at large,” Thompson said.

Over the past six years, the event has grown exponentially. This year, the organising committee added a timed run for avid runners. Organisers said that, in previous years, the Lighthouse School has relied primarily on staff members to fill the role of volunteers, but this year they welcomed the addition of members from Rotaract Club of Grand Cayman, Ogier, Engel & Völkers, and three other young volunteers.

Volunteer coordinator and speech pathologist Deniece Williams said, “Thank you to all our volunteers who dedicated their time. I’m extremely proud of the work that the volunteers provided, and I’d like to acknowledge their timeless effort to the cause.”