April is Autism Awareness Month, and the Qatar Career Development Centre (QCDC), a member of Qatar Foundation (QF), has organised a webinar series to raise awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
QCDC will hold the next live webinar via Zoom in English, titled ‘Autism Awareness Month: Ordinary Heroes – Nurturing People with Autism’. Taking place at 8.30pm on Monday, it targets parents and young men and women with autism.
Special guests Sara Coleman, special education teacher at Awsaj Academy; Samantha Campion-Gibson, autism specialist at the Learning Centre; and Sabika Shaban, a parent of two neurodiverse children, will speak at the webinar. They will tackle the blessings and challenges of raising and educating children diagnosed with ASD, speaking about experiences and lessons learned. The webinar will additionally include a Q&A session, followed by a dialogue.
QCDC director Abdulla al-Mansoori said, “QCDC is committed to empowering all segments of the Qatari society, and actively contributes to the realisation of Qatar’s vision for economic, human and social development. We are working to implement this through many programmes targeting groups with special needs, groups facing learning challenges and others. These programmes aim at helping these groups join the labour market and integrate into Qatar’s social and economic fabric.
“For example, in 2018, we launched the Career Readiness Programme in co-operation with Awsaj Academy, one of the schools operating under the umbrella of QF’s Pre-University Education. The programme aims at supporting career guidance efforts for students who face minor to moderate learning challenges, by making use of available international expertise, adapting the best models and adopting them locally, as well as meeting national needs.”
A previous webinar was held on April 5, titled ‘Autism Awareness Month: Ordinary Heroes – Living with Autism’. The webinar provided an in-depth perspective of what it means to have ASD. It touched on topics such as providing job opportunities for this group, and the steps that should be taken by employers to integrate people with ASD into the labour market. The webinar further looked at the importance of diversifying the workforce in Qatar to include these groups.
The webinar hosted American-born academics Dr Stephen Shore and Dr Temple Grandin. They are internationally acclaimed for their extensive experience in ASD, as despite both being on the spectrum, they each lead successful and prosperous lives.
World Autism Awareness Day was first proposed by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, to the United Nations in 2007. April 2 became World Autism Awareness Day, highlighting the need to help improve the quality of life for people with autism.
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