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PHCC launches ASD Awareness Initiative in Schools

12 Mar 2023

Dr Sadria Kuhaji
Dr. Sadria Al-Kooheji: We aim to involve ASD individuals in the society in a healthy and effective manner

The Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), in alignment with the National Autism Plan developed in 2017, launched an initiative to raise awareness of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) led by the child and adolescent health team in cooperation with the School Health Department.

Dr. Sadria Al-Kooheji, Senior Community Medicine Consultant - Assistant Medical Director for Child and Adolescent Health and the National Lead of the Healthy Children and Adolescents Strategy - explained that this initiative aims to train school employees and spread awareness among them about autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as training has commenced for primary schools’ employees. 

The training focuses on spreading and enhancing awareness of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) within the educational sector, to include teachers, psychologists, social workers, nurses, and everyone involved with students and their parents in schools. The training content aims to enhance awareness of ASD and its associated symptoms, and to understand the needs of autistic individuals at all levels in order to enable education employees to identify and understand ASD cases and provide the necessary support within the scope of their role in education. PHCC also seeks, through this training, to adjust the educational environments in schools to fit the capabilities and needs of ASD children.

The training material was provided as a scientific basis for autism by PHCC team who are well-trained and certified as "the lead ASD trainers". This team consists of physicians, nurses, social workers, radiologists and exercise coaches. The lead trainers received training by autism consultants certified by the British National Autism Society, to become the official trainers for ASD related topics.

“We are striving to deliver this training workshop to other educational levels, from secondary and high schools, to achieve the objective of enhancing awareness of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among all educational employees in the State of Qatar. We seek through this initiative to support ASD individuals in order to ensure that they are involved in the society, education and work in a healthy and effective manner, accordingly, enabling them to be productive in these areas as well as protecting their rights to access both education and health as a whole in the State of Qatar”, Dr. Sadriya Al-Kooheji concluded.