Children with special needs in focus at show

MANAMA: Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Wife of His Majesty the King and President of the Supreme Council for Women (SCW), deputised Shaikha Thajba bint Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa to attend the first fashion show for autistic children entitled: “Bahrain’s Fashions Over time” held at the Sheraton Hotel by the Bahrain Society for Children with Behavioral & Communication Difficulties (BSCBCD).

Vice-President of the Bahrain Society for Children with Behavioural and Communication Difficulties Sumaya Hussain delivered a statement in which she asserted that the Alia Centre for Early Intervention was established to consolidate efforts to provide a suitable environment for children with behavioural and communication disorders so that they can participate effectively with their families and integrate into society.

She said that 20 male and female children had graduated from the centre, and joined intermediate schools afterwards, adding that 129 students are currently enrolled in the centre, and efforts are underway to accommodate more.

She highlighted BSCBCD’s plan to build a residential care house to take care of children with behavioural and communication difficulties through providing them with an environment that is similar to a home as it meets their social, educational, recreational and professional needs, and fosters the students’ independence and facilitates their integration.

During the ceremony, 40 students from the centre presented a fashion show, designed by a number of designers, including a graduate from the centre. The shows depicted Bahrain’s popular and traditional fashions as well as up-to-date world trends.

A short awareness-raising film on ways to deal with the different age categories of children with behavioural and communication difficulties enabling them to reintegrate into society easily and become productive citizens was also screened.

An auction was also held on the exhibited items in order to collect funds to build a residential care house.

It is worth noting that the Bahrain Society for Children with Behavioral & Communication Difficulties was established in March, 2004. Since then, it has been exerting tremendous efforts to provide children with behavioural and communication disorders with the opportunity to develop their skills.

IN November, 2004, BSCBCD set up the Alia Centre for Early Intervention.

An American education consultant group, Applied Behavior Consultants (ABC), was employed to help set up centre and train its staff, in line with an approach called Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). The consultants revisit Alia every four months to assess the progress it is making and deliver more advanced training.

In November 2005, Alia was awarded ABC accreditation in ABA approaches. Now Alia is certified to train parents, teachers and other professionals in educating children with behaviour and communication difficulties.

In June 2008, five members of staff were qualified to be Miller Method Certified Specialists.

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