The Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, ZHO and ADEK launched a series of interactive knowledge-sharing sessions for parents and other caregivers of young children with autism

• The interactive knowledge sharing event “Understanding Autism – the Family Journey” took place on May 1st and provided 78 parents, nannies and other family members with practical tips and information about autism and how to organize family life around it.
• Parents got a chance to interact with professionals, special educators and therapists specialized in working with children with autism on a daily basis.
• ZHO, ECA and ADEK came together to deliver this 2nd event of a new series intended to scale up support and training for families and caregivers of children with autism.

The Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA), in partnership with the Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination (ZHO) and Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK), and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Special Education (MRC-NECC) launched a series of interactive knowledge sharing events and trainings to support families and children with autism.

ZHO provided significant expertise and professionals experienced in autism to co-design a new parent training with on-site childcare provided. The event was delivered together with professionals from ECA, ADEK, MRC-NECC and over 30 community volunteers.

The interactive knowledge sharing event “Understanding Autism – the Family Journey” took place on May 1st and provided 78 parents, nannies and other family members with practical tips and information about autism and how to organize family life around it. Simultaneous translation from Arabic to English was provided to ensure everybody could participate in the session regardless of their preferred language.
At the end of last year an introductory session on “Understanding Autism” received highly positive feedback from parents and requests for events on additional topics. The collaborative event was co-organized by ECA, ZHO, ADEK and MRC-NECC who provided experts to develop the trainings as well as professionals for the on-site interactive workshops. In order to make the events as inclusive as possible, childcare was provided by trained professionals on-site.
Parents and other caregivers got a chance to speak to professionals on any questions or concerns related to autism and took home useful advice on how to incorporate some of the activities and behaviours discussed in the workshops in everyday life.
As part of the wider efforts to scale up parent trainings and capacity building in the community, the involved organizations are planning to develop additional trainings and knowledge-sharing opportunities. Topics range from “The Unplanned Journey” to “Communication is Key” and “Managing the Unexpected”, and will be rolled out within the multi-partner, intersectional effort to establish an Integrated Early Childhood Intervention System in Abu Dhabi.
There are also future plans to make the training series available online via parent websites and platforms such as ECA’s Parent Portal to reach a wider audience of Abu Dhabi families who may not get a chance to attend the event series in-person.
This initiative is part of the Government’s efforts to improve the quality of life of Abu Dhabi’s children and families and provide the required services and trainings for families with young children. It is embedded in the Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination 2020-2024 and the ongoing development of an Integrated Early Childhood Intervention System in Abu Dhabi.

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