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Dahra Jackson

 

Miamian, Dahra Jackson provides psycho educational assessments for children ages 8 to 15 at the Mailman Center for Child Development, at University of Miami's School of Medicine.  She also is a PhD candidate in clinical psychology at UM.  Ms. Jackson's experience with FAVACA has taken her to St. Lucia and Jamaica.  The St. Lucia Ministry of Education sought her help to adopt a national policy for persons with disabilities; train teachers at all levels; implement a screening and early identification program for students; and establish a diagnostic and assessment center.  During her consultation, she provided teaching techniques and strategies and conducted 25 individual counseling sessions and assessments of students.  In Jamaica, she collaborated with the Jamaica Association for Persons with Mental Retardation (JAPMR), who, requested assistance with capacity building, instruments to assess students through school to graduation, and development of a resource program targeting primary students at risk for failure.  JAPMR is the oldest and largest inter-disciplinary organization of professionals and others concerned about mental retardation and other developmental disabilities in Jamaica.  JAPMR's main program, The School of Hope, has 29 locations throughout the island.

 

Projects:

ST. LUCIA MINISTRY OF EDUCATION RECEIVES SPECIAL EDUCATION SUPPORT.  Cynthia Weekes, St. Lucia's Special Needs Education Officer, requested assistance in training teachers to identify children with Autism, Attention Defect, and other learning disabilities.  Dahra N. Jackson, Miami, veteran FAVACA volunteer, provided the training February 22-25, 2005.  Ms. Jackson currently provides psycho educational assessments for children ages 8 to 15 at the Mailman Center for Child Development within the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Miami's School of Medicine.  In addition to providing teaching techniques and strategies, Dahra also conducted 25 individual counseling sessions and assessments of students during her visit.  The Ministry of Education's long-term goals include the development and adoption of a national policy for persons with disabilities; teacher training at all levels; implementation of a screening and early identification program for students entering the educational system; and establishing a diagnostic and assessment center.

JAMAICAN SCHOOL FOR THE DISABLED BUILDS CRITICAL CAPACITY INTELLECTUAL ASSESSMENT SKILLS.  In June 2003, Grace Duncan, executive director, Jamaica Association for Persons with Mental Retardation (JAPMR), requested assistance with capacity building, the development of instruments to assess students through school to graduation, and the development of a resource program aimed at assisting students at risk for failure from traditional primary schools.  Volunteer consultant Dahra Jackson, with the University of Miami worked with JAPMR staff that summer and upon her return was able to persuade the university to donate three assessment kits, scoring sheets, templates and the computer scoring program to JAPMR's School of Hope (SOH).  In an attempt to increase the effectiveness of the school, training on the administration of the intellectual kits and interpretation of the scores was needed.  Intellectual assessment is vital to program development, educational planning and progress monitoring of the children they serve.  Jackson returned to Jamaica December 17-January 11, 2004, to work with 5 staff members.  The training will empower the SOH staff to more effectively understand the strengths and weaknesses of the children they serve.  Jackson is a clinical assistant and member of the child protection team and psycho educational assessments clinic at the Mailman Center for Child Development.  The JAPMR is the oldest and largest inter-disciplinary organization of professionals and others concerned about mental retardation and other developmental disabilities in Jamaica.  The School of Hope is their main program with 29 locations throughout the island.

SCHOOL FOR MENTALLY CHALLENGED IMPROVES EDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENT.  Grace Duncan, executive director, Jamaica Association for Persons with Mental Retardation (JAPMR) requested assistance with capacity building, the development of instruments to assess students through school to graduation, and the development of a resource program aimed at assisting students at risk for failure from traditional primary schools.  Dahra Jackson, clinical assistant and member of the child protection team and psycho educational assessments clinic at the Mailman Center for Child Development, University of Miami, traveled June 25-28, 2003.  Jackson met with Duncan and other key stakeholders at JAPMR to assess the current methods used and work with them to develop an appropriate strategy to meet their goals.  JAPMR is the oldest and largest inter-disciplinary organization of professionals and others concerned about mental retardation and other developmental disabilities in Jamaica.  Their main program, The School of Hope, has 29 locations throughout the island.  They are currently in the process of decentralizing and it is important to develop the framework within which the newly autonomous schools should operate to maintain uniformity and standards among other measurable goals.

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