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The Saudi Autism Association offered me the opportunity to attend a symposium in Britain, during which I visited a number of schools and education and training centers for people with autism, and attended an exhibition on the autism spectrum, with the most of the participants who were autistic mothers. and fathers and their children and some companies interested in autism. The symposium was attended by some of those interested in the autism spectrum from the Kingdom, Kuwait and Qatar, and most of them were women who have centers for the autistic spectrum or who have autistic children.
Britain is one of the most advanced countries in providing care for people with disabilities, including autistic people. The local authorities undertake to educate, train and rehabilitate them. The government is obliged by law to guarantee the rights of people with disabilities, provide care, education, training and rehabilitation, and comprehensive access to them inside and outside their homes. Most of the school teachers we visited were women, with a percentage of more than one teacher per student in some cases of autism, which made the cost much higher than in the Kingdom, as the student told the local government about 70 000 pounds a year cost, and about 250 thousand pounds when his condition requires an overnight stay. .
The teachers are carefully selected. The scientific qualification comes second. The basis is love and passion, the basis of all creativity and excellence, and to consider work is an exalted message that requires a lot of patience and follow-up. On-the-job training for teachers is done on an ongoing basis.
The schools are simple in their buildings, some are old schools that have been restored, and some are built inside farms that provide a healthy environment for children. The most important are what it contains of gardens, spacious classrooms for games and various activities that introduce students able to train in communication skills and life requirements, and in every school there are restrooms equipped with lights Suitable for students who need it. One of the schools we visited was a primary school that was built in 1912, and it was restored a few years ago and became a school for autistic only.The second school is a secondary school for boys and girls, in which autistic children are integrated with general education students. In this school there is a special section designed to train and comfort autistic children, on which the special education teacher is based.
The last day was dedicated to the visit of an exhibition on the autism spectrum, held in a municipal building in the center of Manchester, covering an area of no more than 10,000 square meters. to ensure.
This seminar and exhibition has many benefits, the most important of which can be summarized as follows:
First: More important than the numerous buildings and requirements required by the Center’s Human Resources Ministry owners, we find that they rather focus on the trained, qualified and loving human element, which is the basis and secret of success in their school. With the availability of safety for children, and the state of close supervision of the child according to the type and severity of the disability. The human element and the quality of training is what he focuses on in these centers. I believe that the Ministry should review and simplify the conditions for the establishment of centers, focusing on the quality of training and doubling the amounts paid to buy the service to increase the number of female teachers in each center and as required by each disability.
Second: We need great efforts to raise awareness of the autism spectrum, whether at the level of families with autistic children or schools where integration takes place. Awareness-raising should include all students and teachers so that they adapt to the autistic child and not the other way around. round. An autistic person can not change his behavior except after in-depth and continuous training of a specialist. In terms of violence and voice-over, it only increases his aversion and hatred in school, and the constant communication between family and school is one of the most important reasons for the success of training and rehabilitation.
Third: Simple and mobile exhibits are very useful in raising awareness of the autistic spectrum, especially when focusing on lectures as in the aforementioned exhibit, and in attracting participants from within the Kingdom, Jordan and European countries. Meeting creative autistic children and their mothers raises the morale of families with autistic children, and gives them hope for a better future for their children. It is helpful to have free counseling clinics to discuss how to treat the behavioral, psychological and educational challenges of autistic children.
Fourth: Correct diagnosis is half the treatment. Autism was unknown forty years ago, even among doctors in the Kingdom. Today, we need to educate all medical students, general practitioners, and GPs, and that this spectrum is present in the minds of every physician when examining children.Especially those who have hyperactivity, introversion, or excessive sensitivity to loud noises, dazzling lights, or learning difficulties.
There are about 250,000 people with autism spectrum disorder in the Kingdom, and Crown Prince Mohammed has paid special attention to people with disabilities, and issued orders to expedite the establishment of centers and schools, and to provide them with full care. It remains for us to invest these generous commands, and to transform them into a project of continuous work, and efforts that will not stop until the Kingdom is among the advanced nations in this field.