Thursday, October 29, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
In addition to the intervention program the center has an internationally acknowledged assessment and diagnosis unit. The Centre also works toward facilitating a better community understanding of autism by launching periodical, public and targeted, awareness campaigns. The major awareness campaign is launched annually on the 2nd of April and lasts for the full month. The campaign is supported by TV, radio and press advertising as well as talk shows and several crowd pulling and Interest generating activities.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental disorder. ASD usually affects the person’s verbal and non verbal communications as well as imaginative play and social skills. ASD transcends social, cultural and geographic boundaries. The incidence of Autism is increasing world wide with a 400% rise in the diagnosis of Autism in the last decade. One out of every 150 children is affected by ASD.
Dubai as per the rest of the world is seeing an increase in the number of people requesting services to support individuals affected by Autism. At the Dubai Autism Center alone, there is a 3 month waiting list for the assessment and diagnoses and 180 children on the waiting list for the school.
The Impact of Autism on Families
Having a child with Autism puts a lot of emotional, spiritual and financial burdens on the parents. Providing the ideal environment for children with Autism comes with a high cost of rehabilitation. In addition often one spouse has to sacrifice his/her job to stay home and take care of the child. Autism has also been known to put a strain on the rest of the family members and siblings.
Obstacles to Intervention
A major barrier to improve the health and wellbeing of children and families touched by Autism is the lack of knowledge and expertise. This coupled with the lack of public health programs limits access to care and early intervention. These challenges are further complicated by a shortage of experts and trained professionals.
Currently the center is operating at full capacity with 49 children enrolled in the center and another 180 waiting to be enrolled. There is also a three month waiting list for the assessment and diagnosis. The growing needs has made it a requirement to construct a purpose built center that can accommodate a greater number of children. The work on the new building was put on hold due to the economic crisis and the unavailability of financial aid.
DAC Strong Points
Specialized in Autism with a focused vision and mission.
The center has set clear short and long term strategies to cope with the growing demand and needs.
Provides holistic approach to intervention with each child having his/her own program.
Each child receives one to one care throughout the day except when group work is scheduled to improve the social and interaction skills.
Maintain high classroom standards by having an average of 4 children per classroom with a ratio of 1:2 OF special needs teacher to children.
Multi discipline and multicultural staff that share their expertise to improve the children’s capabilities.
Diversified therapies, activities and approaches to enhance each child’s learning experience.
Freedom to develop and learn from different disciplines and approaches to Autism intervention.
Strong management that adopts open door policies and horizontal structure for better communication and work environment.
The team is highly qualified and keeps abreast of the latest development through continuous training and self development. The team is highly respected in their fields locally and internationally with many awards to their name as an evidence of their achievements.
Team Building programs coupled with intensive staff training throughout the year
Systematic and well planned government outreach program to improve the conditions of the special needs sector and individuals with emphasis on Autism.
Creative in spreading awareness through awareness campaigns and PR activities
Strong outreach program involving all segments of the society.
Services Provided by the Center
- Individualized intervention programs
- Educational program
- Behavioral modification program
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Movement therapy
- Music therapy
- Art therapy
- Computer literacy
- Art classes
- Prevocational training
- Social integration (field trips & out door activities)
- Assessment and Diagnosis
- Utilize a variety of assessment tools
- The team comprises of 6 professionals (The team include professionals from the various disciplines)
- Guide parents of newly diagnosed children to seek professional intervention program (the center is unable to cope with the demand)
- Organize and run the Parents support Club
- Invite speakers and keep up to date with new approaches/treatments
- Conduct outreach programs to schools, Social clubs, companies as well as private and semi private government organizations
- Spreading Awareness
- Several awareness campaigns are conducted every year to educate the public and encourage -parents to seek professional help.
- Develop several out reach programs to improve the quality of life to children with Autism and their families
- Training and Information
- Several training programs are organized every year to help various professionals in the field of Autism
- Provide consistent training to the employees
- A library with more than 550 books are made available to parents and professionals
- Translating and publishing books
The Center Fact Sheet
Number of classes 11
Number of Students 49 (all nationalities and ethnic background)
Average number of Students / classroom 4
Ratio of Special educators to students 2:1
Number of Staff 60 (professionals and administration)
Students admission age 2 – 16 (currently the center has 20 years old)
N.B: All activities carried out by the center including printing are sponsored by individuals and or business institutes.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
DEAN KARNAZES WAS SLOBBERING DRUNK.
IT WAS HIS 30TH BIRTHDAY, and he'd started with beer and moved on to tequila shots at a bar near his home in San Francisco. Now, after midnight, an attractive young woman – not his wife – was hitting on him. This was not the life he'd imagined for himself. He was a corporate hack desperately running the rat race. The company had just bought him a new Lexus. He wanted to vomit. Karnazes resisted the urge and, instead, slipped out the bar's back door and walked the few blocks to his house. On the back porch, he found an old pair of sneakers. He stripped down to his T-shirt and underwear, laced up the shoes, and started running. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
He sobered up in Daly City, about 15 miles south. It was nearly four in the morning. The air was cool, slightly damp from the fog, and Karnazes was in a residential neighborhood, burping tequila, with no pants on. He felt ridiculous, but it brought a smile to his face. He hadn't had this much fun in a long time. So he decided to keep running.
When the sun came up, Karnazes was trotting south along Route 1, heading toward Santa Cruz. He had covered 30 miles. In the process, he'd had a blinding realization: There were untapped reservoirs within him. It was like a religious conversion. He had been born again as a long-distance runner. More than anything else now, he wanted to find out how far he could go. But at that exact moment, what he really needed to do was stop. He called his wife from a pay phone, and an hour later she found him in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven. He passed out in the car on the way home.
That was August 1992. Over the next 14 years, Karnazes challenged almost every known endurance running limit. He covered 350 miles without sleeping. (It took more than three days.) He ran the first and only marathon to the South Pole (finishing second), and a few months ago, at age 44, he completed 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days, one in each of the 50 states. (The last one was in New York City. After that, he decided to run home to San Francisco.) Karnazes' transformation from a tequila-sodden party animal into an international symbol of human achievement is as educational as it is inspirational.