Happy new year from the CREN Team!

Dear readers,

Happy new year from The University of the West Indies - Family Development Centre and the CREN Team! We thank you for your immense support last year. It was indeed a pleasure to share knowledge and learn together with each of you as we worked toward our goals of child and family development in our communities. For 2017 you can look out for new Learning Events, research findings and CREN content

Also, we are pleased to announce that we have re-opened our Counselling Services and introduced Psychological Services, provided at no cost to the public. These services are available Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 8am to 4pm and on Saturdays from 9am to 3pm. Call us at 662-2002, Extension 84510 or 663-8914 to schedule your appointment today!

Predictably unpredictable – A deeper look into living with special needs

By Laura Pierre-Escayg

Editor's note: Universal Children's Day 2016 will be celebrated on 20th November and focuses on the rights of children all over the world. This month we are pleased to share the personal insight of Laura Pierre-Escayg, a singer, dedicated mother of three, and co-founder of Cause an Effect. Cause an Effect is a for-purpose, cause-related media and content creation company focused on highlighting the needs of adults and children with disabilities.

Imagine, if you can, what it must feel like to be unable to express everything you feel verbally. Imagine that a million thoughts are running through your mind which you desperately want to and need to express. But, each time you open your mouth, all that ventures out is a muffled sound. The frustration would be enough to drive you insane. This is what life is like for many children with special needs and this is why I see my experience as a call to service.

ALTA: Impacting literacy in Trinidad and Tobago

by the Adult Literacy Tutors Association (ALTA)

"Five years ago I was unable to read and spell. Because of that situation, I was unable to fulfil my dream. I got a job as a production manager. My shift was the most productive shift, but because I was unable to read and spell, I had problems functioning on the job. I decided to go to adult classes...and I now understand what it takes to read and spell. I plan to preach throughout the world so I must continue to improve to fulfil this dream. The teachers in the ALTA class are excellent; they are wonderful and patient with us and give up their time, showing that they have our interest at heart. They challenge us to improve." 
George, ALTA student, 2016

Television viewing: Impacts on our Caribbean children

By Dr. David E. Bratt MD

A common question parents ask is: "When can my child begin to watch TV?"

"Not until two years of age.  And still, be careful at that age."

Television has a tremendous influence on how children view our world. Many youngsters spend more time watching television than they do in the classroom.  It often begins a few months after birth. In the Caribbean, the TV always seems to be on.  And loudly. Babies are fascinated by the flickering pictures and hilarious sounds coming out of the box in the corner. Parents quickly learn that the TV keeps their child quiet. It also keeps them dazed and ‘dotish’*.