Videos: Declaration of World Autism Day

April 1, 2010

Today World Autism Awareness Day in Bermuda was officially declared, and April was designated as Autism Awareness Month by Acting Minster of Health Zane DeSilva today at City Hall.

During the event it was announced that Government would be giving a grant of $20,000 to Bermuda Autism Support & Education [BASE], which was later discovered to have been a case of accidental misinformation, and the grant would go to Tomorrow’s Voices – Bermuda Autism Early Intervention Centre.

Autism inhibits a person’s ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioural challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 110 children, affecting four times as many boys as girls and knows no racial, ethnic or social boundaries.

Pictured below is Minister Desilva, President of BASE Jenny Purvey, and the Bermuda School of Music Steel Band Orchestra.

Click images to enlarge:

President of BASE Jenny Purvey welcomed Government’s continued support both in raising awareness and providing financial help. She explained the cost of caring for a child with autism was crippling for most families. With up to 20 hours of therapy required at an average $150 an hour, a 2006 Harvard study put the average cost of services for an individual with autism at US$3.2 million over his/her lifetime. In Bermuda, unlike the US, there is no insurance coverage for autism related services beyond initial diagnosis. “The bottom line is that treatment is completely unaffordable and can financially bring a family to its knees – even in good times,” she said.

Courtesy of, a video of Ms Purvey’s remarks:

Minister Zane DeSilva said that “the Government is committed to helping those families, both through the Ministry of Health which ensures that families of special needs children have access to the health care and social support they need, and through the Ministry of Education”. He went on to explain that “in 2008, the Ministry successfully partnered with Bermuda Autism Support & Education in a pilot programme within the public school system that provides a behaviour therapist to provide hands-on training and guidance to paraprofessionals, teachers and learning support staff in the classroom setting.”

Video of Minister Desilva’s remarks:


A quick clip of the performance of Bermuda School of Music Steel Band

BASE will be hosting more events for Autism month including:

  • April 7: Argus Health Fair – BASE will be manning an information booth
  • April 23: Annual Denim Day – Businesses and schools throughout the Island are encouraged to wear denim for a day in aid of BASE.
  • April 30: “Let’s Talk About Autism” – a round table discussion at Mount St. Agnes Academy featuring local and overseas professionals, including Joyce Mounsteven, Geneva Centre for Autism; Dr. Danielle Sutton PhD, Butterfly Effects; Stephanie Martzall, BCBA, Butterfly Effects; and Anthony Peets, Parent & School Counselor.
  • May 17-23: World famous artist and autistic savant Stephen Wiltshire, MBE will visit Bermuda.

For more details:

[Thanks to for the photos and footage]

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