An innovative programme initiated by the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), an initiative of Qatar Foundation (QF), with the support of Occidental Petroleum of Qatar (Oxy Qatar) aims to give young adults with autism the opportunity to learn valuable life skills that will increase their sense of independence and build their confidence.
Participants in the Young Adults’ Life Skills Camp programme are being given specialised training, including sessions to develop motor skills, which will help them to tackle day-to-day tasks with confidence. These include learning how to shop, use money and carry out household chores with increasing independence.
Before starting the programme, each participant is individually assessed to ensure that the training being offered best meets their specific needs.
Sultana Afdhal and Andrew Kershaw sign an agreement to provide a life skills training programme for young adults with autism.
The new programme stems from a 2016 WISH report that highlighted a global need to better identify the challenges faced by people with autism, and advised that services should be tailored to help those with autism integrate more easily into society at large.
Oxy Qatar is supporting WISH in developing the camp as part of an ongoing commitment to generate projects in Qatar that help people with autism maximise their potential.
The camp sessions will take place each Sunday starting this week, throughout the summer. QF is providing facilities and staff support for the duration of the programme, with specialists from the Child Development Center (CDC) facilitating the training.
Senior representatives of WISH, Oxy Qatar and the CDC participated in a ceremony to launch the programme recently at the QF Recreation Centre, hosted by Machaille al-Naimi, president of Community Development, QF.
Among those present were Sultana Afdhal, CEO of WISH; Mohamed al-Otbey, social responsibility manager at Oxy Qatar; Yousuf Buhindi, director of Qatarisation and Social Responsibility chair at Oxy Qatar; and Dr Adrienne Robek, clinical director, CDC.
Al-Naimi said, “As part of QF’s commitment to supporting community development across Qatar, we believe it is important that we seek to support all members of our society.
“We are thrilled that WISH contacted us about using QF facilities to host the Young Adults’ Life Skills Camp, and we are delighted that we have been able to play our part in realising this project. We look forward to continually increasing the numbers of inclusive programmes, classes and camps that we offer to the autism community, which will, in turn, help deliver results towards achieving the National Autism Plan.”
Afdhal noted, “Our hope at WISH when commissioning healthcare reports, such as our 2016 autism report, is that they are used as catalysts for positive change.
“It is especially rewarding when we get to see a project such as the Young Adults’ Life Skills Camp come to fruition, since we know that it is helping young people in Qatar who are living with disabilities to build both their skills and their confidence. We are very grateful for the support of Oxy Qatar, QF and the CDC in developing this programme.”
Andrew Kershaw, president and general manager, Oxy Qatar, added: “Occidental Petroleum Qatar strives to be a partner of choice everywhere we operate, by investing time and resources in programmes that strengthen local communities. We are delighted to collaborate with WISH and Qatar Foundation to focus on helping autistic individuals better integrate into society.”