Following the successful launch by Dr. Ahmed Al Saeedi, Minister of Health at the Sultanate of Oman, Rochester Wellness Clinic Muscat announced plans to set-up a dedicated speech laboratory for children with special needs. First of its kind in Oman, the laboratory will be equipped with highly advanced facility that will help therapists diagnose speech or language problems as well as guide them in employing the appropriate methods to therapy. “Rochester Wellness utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach to diagnosis, psychological assessment and rehabilitation of children with special needs. Speech and language therapy is an integral part to the treatment process and our move to set-up this new facility is a testament of our commitment to deliver the best rehabilitation services to children with special needs in Oman,” said Karim Jamal, Managing Director at Rochester Wellness Clinic. Rochester clinic’s rehabilitation program includes treatment of pediatric condition such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Speech and Language Disorder, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Dyslexia, Down Syndrome and Asperger Syndrome; among others. The announcement coincided a special social interaction day organized by Rochester to educate parents and relatives of children with special needs, the important role social interaction play in the over-all care and therapy of children. Attended by over 50 parents, relatives and caregivers, the event was highlighted by informal sessions by pediatric therapists with parents and relatives of the children on the common challenges they face, ways to deal with them and the kind of interaction needed to complement various rehabilitation therapy techniques. According to various researches, the development of effective social interaction skills among children with special needs is one of the crucial components to therapy. It requires tremendous amount of understanding, support and dedication from the children’s immediate social circle such as parents and relatives. “Building trust and confidence is very important. And the first step is to make sure that parents engage the child at his or her level as developmentally and emotionally they may be functioning at a much lower level than their age. Spending time with a child, having fun and playing alongside him or her without pressure is a good start,” said Olfa Jedidi, Speech Therapist/Pathologist at Rochester Wellness.