HMC Announces Educational Symposium for Parents With Autistic Children
Experts from Canadian Sick Kids Hospital, the Shafallah Center, the Doha International Center, the New England Center for Autism (Boston/Abu-Dhabi) and Qatar University, will present lectures and also hold workshops for parents of autistic children and workers in the field. Around 50 autistic children and their families are expected to attend the day long event.
Speaking about the Autism Symposium Dr. Fadhila Al Rawi, Head of the autism program at the Pediatric Neurodevelopment and Rehabilitation Center at HMC said, “The aim of the autism symposium is to create more awareness amongst parents about the issues surrounding autistic children and to provide much needed support to them. The event provides a perfect plaform for leading experts in the field to share their expertise and experience. The workshops organized during the day will focus on developing a tried and tested teaching program for families of autistic children and help parents to feel more confident in dealing with their autistic children.”
The autism symposium will also see special training being imparted to occupational therapists, speech therapists, special educators, doctors, nurses and dieticians at HMC, all of whom play an integral part in the effective treatment of autistic children.
Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviours and is a "spectrum disorder" that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause for autism, but increased awareness and specialised support can provide valuable help to families.
Parents should be able to recognize early signs of autism such as anxiety, depression,
self-harm, irritable behaviour, temper tantrums and most importantly the difficulty in cognitive/speech communication. An autistic child may be very intelligent but he or she many not be able to express themselves in an effective manner, and parents and teachers can receive special training to be able to manage their children more effectively.
“Families of autistic children need to understand what their child is going through and how to deal with their often difficult behaviour. Early intervention is the key to providing an autistic child with necessary skills to cope with life. ,” added Dr. Al Rawi at HMC.
The autism program at Rumailah Hospital was officially inaugurated in 1997 and currently provides treatment to around 105 autistic children. They get regular medical care, using Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), to provide behaviour modifications training, cognitive/speech stimulation and training from psychologists, special educators etc.