Intervention in Jamaica:
A Home-Based Model
Incorporating Parents of
Children with Disabilities
MARIGOLD J. THORBURN
Before embarking on a discussion of the issues in this chapter, some introductory remarks are necessary to set the context. Jamaica is a small, English-speaking island in the Caribbean, and for historical, cultural, geographic, and ethnic reasons, services may have taken a very different form from those in other countries in Latin America. Therefore, information about how the service developed is important.
My original reason for initiating early intervention programs in Jamaica was that, as a physician, I saw the need for bridging the gap between diagnosis and school. Although the inspiration came in 1971 from the Milwaukee Project ( Heber & Garber, 1967), the approach was very much influenced by two mentors. First, the late Dr. G. Allan Roeher, then Director of the National Institute on Mental Retardation in Canada, strongly influenced me with the philosophy of normalization and integration. Second, the pioneering work of Sir Kenneth Standard, then Professor of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of the West Indies, in primary health care set me on the path of what would eventually become known as community-based rehabilitation.
The primary health care model calls for low-cost service delivery provided by local, community personnel, who perform simple tasks using local resources as far as possible. This has influenced our approach to staff structure and selection, as 75 percent of our staff are recruited from the community.
The focus of this book is children with mild disabilities. Our projects have always included any child with a developmental or behavior prob-