The Ministry of Public Health organized several important events and activities as part of the celebration of World Autism Day (ASD) recognized on April 2nd, in collaboration with Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs, Hamad Medical Corporation and Primary Health Care Corporation, Sidra Medicine, among many other partners.
The Ministry of Public Health concluded on Sunday the three-day Virtual Annual Qatar Autism Spectrum Disorder Forum, organized by the ministry. This year, the forum focused on providing practical solutions for parents of autistic people and ASD professionals on the ways to address the challenges facing children and adults with ASD, particularly during Coved-19 pandemic.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani, Director of Public Health Department at the Ministry of Public Health, said: ” People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are one of the priority groups that receives the care and attention of the health sector in Qatar, given the importance of providing specialized and advanced services to this precious group.”
Dr. Mohammed Al Thani added that the health sector is keen with the active partners in Qatar on the importance of ensuring access to health, education and social services for autism spectrum disorder while promoting early intervention services and comprehensive education of ASD, in addition to keeping up with the latest global developments and research and scientific studies in the field of prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and various services provided to people with ASD. In this context, the national plan for autism has been developed, launched and implemented.
He stressed that the annual Qatar Autism Spectrum Disorder Forum coincides in conjunction with World Autism Day on April 2nd every year, emphasizes the importance of continuing to focus on emphasize the importance of continuing to focus on developing the skills and expertise of ASD service providers in accordance with the latest developments in this field and promoting family participation in the development and construction of the individual educational program for ASD children and adults.
Dr. Nouf Siddiqui, Health Lead of the National Autism Plan, said: “The annual Qatar Autism Spectrum Disorder Forum is an important event in qatar’s efforts and the health sector to promote services for people with autism spectrum disorder, in conjunction with World Autism Day.
Dr. Nouf Al Seddiqi added that the forum contributes to achieving the objectives of the National Autism Plan and in the framework of educating parents and enabling them to communicate with professionals from different countries and communities to obtain up-to-date and relevant information related to services and programs for people with ASD in Qatar.
She said that the Ministry of Public Health, in collaboration with its partners, continues to work on integrating people with Autism Spectrum Disorder into society, in accordance with ambitious plans and based on the latest international developments in this field.
The annual Autism Spectrum Disorder Forum reviewed many key topics, with Dr. Eric Fompon, professor at Oregon University of Health and Science, Director of Autism Research Institute for Developmental Disabilities in the United States of America, and keynote speaker at the forum and he explained the result of his latest research in the united states which confirmed that there is no direct relation between vaccinations and Autism spectrum disorder.
Dr. Michel Elysandri, Executive Director of the University of Miami (Nova-Southeast), Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (USA), spoke about promoting early screening and intervention access: Centers of Excellence for Autism NICHD, ACTION Network.
Dr. Ayman Al-Balsha, autism expert and behavioral therapy consultant, Jordan, gave a presentation on Community Development Model, Cooperation for Early Intervention, “Tamkeen” Training Program for ASD Staff.
Julie Fisher, Executive Director of New York City Autism, Independent School (USA), discussed “applied behavior analysis and an introduction to the model of the Independent Autism School in New York City”.
Mr. Mahmoud Shayab, Program Director and President of the Jordanian Society for Behavior and Analysis at the Jordanian Autism Academy, presented a review of the analysis of the applied behavior approach to language – verbal behavior)
and Dr. Watfa Al Mamari, Director of Pediatrics at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Oman, gave a briefing on the regional communication and cooperation in autism research and services.
Dr. Dina Al Thani, Associate Professor at The Faculty of Engineering and Science at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, gave a presentation on “Augmented reality for learning of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder”
The Ministry of Public Health also organized a virtual workshop in cooperation with the World Health Organization on the development of professional competencies and training programs for autism spectrum disorder for3 days from March 30 to April 1, with the participation of a number of local, regional and international experts and specialists.
The workshop aimed to introduce service providers to the most important training programs adopted globally and raise the professional competencies of service providers according to their specialties and standardize them in different sectors for people with autism disorder in particular and for all people with special needs in general, and to document what can be adopted from the international development programs to help in the implementation of the program comprehensive educational integration tailored to the needs of each student of autism spectrum disorder,in addition to designing a unified framework for all ministerial bodies and institutions of the government sector and semi-governmental and private sectors that contains the training needs of specialists from the health, education and social sectors of to develop their competencies over the coming years.
The workshop was attended by a number of local and international experts, including Dr. Khalid Saeed, Regional Advisor for Mental Health at the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, and the workshop’s president, Dr. Khalid Abdul Hadi, leader of the Health and Wellness Priority For Special Needs in the National Health Strategy, head of the Department of Hearing and Balance at Hamad Medical Corporation, and Dr. Nouf Siddiqui, Health Leader of the National Autism Plan, a summary of the National Health Strategy and the National Autism Plan.
Dr Simon Wallace, consultant on autism and former director of AT autism, reviewed the results of the autism questionnaire, in which attendees participated and discussed professional standards and autism training in the UK. Dr Kiara Cervelli, WHO’s Chief Medical Officer for Children and Adolescents Mental Health, provided technical advice on the development of staff and experts in the field of developmental delays.
To mark World Autism Day, many parts of the country lit up their buildings in blue to highlight ASD and raise awareness among the community.
In 2007, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser supported the campaign calling for the designation of The International Autism Awareness Day at the 62nd Session of the UN General Assembly, which was unanimously approved by all UN member states. In addition to defining April 2 as International Autism Awareness Day, the resolution encouraged member states to take measures to raise awareness of autism in their communities.
Autism is a lifelong condition that affects how the individual communicates and interacts with others, and how they perceive the world around him. The ASD is used to describe this condition because individuals with autism are affected in different ways and to varying degrees, and the cause in most cases is unknown.
Source: Ministry of Public Health