Dubai Autism Center was operating at full capacity last year, the high demand and the urgency to accommodate more students made it necessary to undertake major renovation of the current premises. Creating more classrooms that meet international standards was extremely difficult. There were many sacrifices to be made including even smaller offices and work stations, loss of employees’ rest area, and remodeling the various rooms to accommodate the students’ needs. With the help of our staff and the help of DAC supporters, the center has three more classrooms and five therapy rooms that can cater to the increased number of students.
Hayula Mourad, Business Support and Communication Unit Head, said, “We take autism personally and try to provide help, support, and services to as many families as is possible under the restrictions of the building. There are many organizations and individuals who realized the importance of tackling this growing disorder and are willing to lend a hand and support the center’s efforts.”
After a very busy summer the center is fully operational with the teachers and therapists spending time observing and preparing the individualized educational programme (IEP’s) for each child. The staff at the center work very hard to meet the needs of the parents and provide a comprehensive plan that will help improve the lives of the students and their families. An Autism specific programme, “ACE” has been adopted to enable educators design individualized curriculum that will help students access the general curriculum. The programme is designed to provide teachers with easy access to applied behavior analytic procedures and student performance data. The programme also provides the flexibility to address virtually any learning need of students with ASDs and ensures state of the art education and treatment. The curriculum spans the full range of functional and age levels.
To address the many needs of individuals living with ASDs, the center has established a comprehensive plan to meet those needs this year. A series of training programmes will be conducted to tackle the various issues. The full training programme is planned for the whole year to help professionals, care givers and families be better prepared to help those under their care. The center is also helping and training other centers in the region either to establish or improve the current faculty competencies according to the international standards. The programme will not be complete without a tailor made programme for the siblings of children with Autism to help them cope with the situation at home and encourage them to include their brother or sister in their daily activities.
Outreach programmes to help raise more awareness about Autism are topping the list. There are a series of visits planned to schools, universities, public and private companies to raise awareness about Autism amongst the employees. The annual awareness campaign will be launched on April 2nd 2014 and will highlight a new aspect of Autism. The center will also participate in various exhibitions and book fairs with the Sharjah International Book Fair already confirmed.
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