Dolphins in Dubai

A new exhibition this week is showcasing photographs taken by special needs students at Atlantis’s Dolphin Bay. Time Out got in on the action

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What’s all this about? Helping children with autism, that’s what. Kids from Stepping Stones Centre for Autistic Disorders in Dubai Healthcare City have teamed up with photography students at Dubai’s Murdoch University to bring us a unique photo exhibition. Showing on May 13, it will feature work by both the Stepping Stones children and the Murdoch students, who spent a morning together at Dolphin Bay at the Atlantis hotel to take pictures of the bottle-nosed creatures.

Stepping Stones uses Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) to help autistic children better integrate into mainstream society. Deniece Wheeler, operations manager at the centre, explains: ‘It’s an effective form of early intervention for children with autism. There is no cure, but ABA can provide recovery, helping autistic children to integrate into mainstream schools and eventually go on to get jobs.’

Together with speech and language therapy and social skills training, the centre organises various community outings for the children. Wheeler explains that this particular outing offered a host of benefits for the kids. ‘Special needs children learn best through peer-to-peer interaction, so working with the older children from Murdoch has been really good for them. They’ve been taught a skill, and the finished product makes it tangible. Water therapy really helps, too.’

Catch the exhibition at Murdoch University in Academic City on May 13, 1pm-6pm. The exhibition may continue throughout the month – call 04 435 5700 to check. Atlantis will also be exhibiting the photographs at Dolphin Bay throughout May. To contact Stepping Stones, call 04 363 5433. Note that most therapies take place in students’ homes

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