Who am I?” A presentation on Autism at OWS

Orphan Welfare Society- Saida held an awareness symposium titled “Who am I?” about the causes, symptoms and the therapies of autism. Parents, teachers, education specialists and other interested people attended the symposium which was the first event in a series of activities planned within the autism awareness campaign which OWS is organizing and carrying out.

The event commenced with a the video of the national anthem performed by our students from the School of the Deaf with the soprano Hiba Kawas, followed by the song “Let me Hear your Voice” dedicated to children with autism performed by the famous Lebanese singer, Ghassan Saliba.  Dr. Said Makkaoui, president of OWS, then welcomed the attendees and urged them to support the awareness campaign emphasizing the urgency required to help children with autism and provide them with the needed education and follow-up. Dr. Makkaoui also informed the audience that the new Ahmad Riad Jawhary Center for Children with Autism which was fully funded by a generous grant from Mr. Mohammad Zaidan will open later in 2017. He finally gave a brief description of the rest of the campaign activities (Follow the link)

In her turn, the head of the Center for Children with Autism, Ms. Samira Nadar, introduced the audience to the center. “The center was established in 2013 with only two classes. However, due to the increasing number of children with autism, the center has been expanded to accommodate more children and today we have 28 students,” Nadar said, and she continued: “we actually focus on two main objectives:  the first is to support the child’s family and help them to accept their child, and the second, is to provide the child with the latest educational methods and therapies. We are looking forward to the opening of our new sensory room which is essential in stimulating the child’s senses”.

Dr. Mohammad Bitar, a pediatric and a neurologist, discussed autism from a medical point of view, whereas the speech therapist, Marwa Al-Hasbini and the psychomotor therapist, Batoul Zaiter, explained the role and importance of therapy for the child diagnosed with autism. The symposium ended with a heartbreaking testimony from a mother of one of the center’s students. She explained how she discovered that her child is autistic and their journey to help him. She also urged other mothers not to neglect their children’s needs.

The presentation was finally followed by questions and answers to Dr. Bitar and the therapists Al Hasbini and Zaiter.

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