The Ministry of Community Development organized an awareness training program in Um Al Qiwain Autism Center as part of its activities in the Autism Awareness Month (April 2019). Targeting social specialists and psychiatrists in the people of determination centers, the training program focused on the role of the brothers and sisters of autistic children to increase the skills of their siblings and psychological and social effects of having an autistic child in the family.
Wafa Hamad Bin Sulaiman, Director of Welfare & Rehabilitation Department for People of Determination at the Ministry, stated that the role of the family towards autistic children is not limited to parents only but must include all family members especially brothers and sisters of same age group who share many interests and activities. The presence of an autistic child in the family has a significant impact on the lives of all family members, this training program enables social specialists to educate brothers and sisters of the basic methods when dealing with autistic siblings, support them in the rehabilitation process, social life and communication to reduce the burden on mothers who take the major rehabilitation responsibilities and follow-up of their children’s conditions with the autism division in the people of determination centers.
Wafa Hamad Bin Sulaiman added that the role of social specialists and psychiatrists in the people of determination centers will enable brothers and sisters to actively participate in their siblings lives, eliminate any negative impacts and increase interaction with autistic children through awareness, training and entertainment programs organized by the people of determination centers.
It is noted that the Ministry of Community Development provides rehabilitation services for people with autism disorders in Um Al Qiwain Autism Center to serve the emirates of Um Al Qiwain, Ajman and Sharjah and autism sections in Dubai, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah
for 177 students who have autism disorder and registered in these centers. In this context, the Ministry also provides social, behavioral and awareness programs for autistic children given the family’s role in developing the skills of their autistic children and supporting the community as well.