A study by Dubai Autism Centre estimates that Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects one in 146 births in the UAE, while less than 20 percent of the cases are assessed for ASD between the age group of six to 18.
In efforts to create an all-encompassing environment for people of determination, a Dubai nursery has collaborated with Autism Rocks to educate society and raise awareness.
“Earlier in the year, we introduced a special developmental screening from the US to identify gifted children and ones who are at risk of potential problems or delays,” says Dr Vandana Gandhi, founder and CEO of British Orchard Nursery.
British Orchard Nursery’s initiative comes in line with the KHDA’s inclusive policy, seeking to change society’s attitude towards people of determination, allowing for a more inclusive education policy framework.
“As a nursery, we’re very receptive and open to children with varying learning abilities. A number of children are on the autism spectrum or with developmental delays in UAE and we ensure that they get the best help possible,” says Gandhi.
To educate society and mark Autism Awareness Month celebrations, the preschool is running a series of sessions for teachers, caregivers, children, and parents across their 18 nurseries until the end of April.
The programme is aimed at equipping them with the right tools to improve a child’s everyday functional skills by increasing useful behaviours and reducing those that may interfere with daily activities and learning.
Teachers are trained in informative workshops on Applied Behavioural Analysis Therapy and how it can be used to teach practical and relevant skills.
Parents, along with class teachers, are being provided with useful examples on implementing effective techniques for changing behaviour and strategies for everyday challenges both in the classroom and at home.
“Ours was the first nursery chain to take such an initiative reflecting our value system and in support of the Dubai Disability Strategy 2020.”
British Orchard Nursery’s programme will inform and educate all stakeholders involved in educating the children to understand and empathise with them in a better way.
Various locations. British Orchard Nursery, Business Central Tower, Sheikh Zayed Road, Media City, Dubai (04 438 5255).