SAI Group observes World Autism Awareness Day in Oman

Energy Monday 04/April/2016 18:29 PM
By: Times News Service
SAI Group observes World Autism Awareness Day in Oman

Muscat: “Never ever underestimate your child. They have the potential and strength which is beyond our imagination. Give them all the inputs you can. They are the precious gems that the Almighty has given us as gifts. Let’s preserve, protect and mould them and give them our best so that they’ll shine as they are meant to.”
These words of Sajna, mother of an autistic child, spoken on the occasion of World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) 2016 celebrated by SAI Group, Oman at Indian School Ghubra summed up the essence and spirit of the colourful three hour variety entertainment programme showcased on the day.
April 2 is observed as World Autism Awareness Day by the United Nations with an intention to spread awareness about autism and promote early intervention and therapies.
Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations has stated, in his message on the eve of WAAD 2016, “While persons with autism naturally have a wide range of abilities and different areas of interest, they all share the capacity for making our world a better place.”
A SAI group volunteer concurs with this and says, “This precisely has been the experience of all of us at SCG (Special Children Group) family for the last seven years.” SCG is a team of committed, like minded people from the SAI group who are involved in extending support to children on autism spectrum disorders and their parents through regular interaction and organizing specialist-conducted seminars.
The absorbing three hour cultural programme witnessed a multitude of colourful performances enacted by the special children.
Mohamed Salim Al Busaidy, member of Shura Council, was the Chief Guest of the event. Lamees Abbas Al Bahrani, Assitant Director General at MoE with the Directorate General for Education Programs for Special Education and Continuous Learning Affairs was the Guest of Honour. The other dignitaries who attended included Dr. Amira Al Raidaan, Head of the Department, Mental Health Department of Non Communicable Diseases Surveillance & Control, Siddiqa Al Lawati, Director, Directorate General of International Schools, MoE, Muna Majeed Al Lawati, Head, Dept of Special Education, MoE, Michelle Ni Thogda, Chief Supervisor, Department of English, MoE, Mr. Tariq Jawad Al Khabori, Oman Disabled Divers Association. Uma Ramani welcomed the gathering seated at the colourful ISG auditorium.
“Celebration of Motherhood” was the theme behind the SAI group’s WAAD 2016 celebrations and the event included many pieces that lauded the role of a mother in a society. “Mother, through her multi-skilled, multiple roles, tireless work and contribution is an unsung hero of a society,” claimed Radhakrishna Bhat, a parent and requested all fathers to appreciate, applaud and lend a supporting hand to their wives.
Special children portrayed on stage some legendary mothers –Jijabai –the mother of Shivaji, Mother Teresa and Putlibhai – mother of Mahatma Gandhi. Special Children were interviewed in a mock TV show termed ‘Special Hour for SCG TV’ by anchor Sarojini Gopal. Displaying excellent balance of body on the battery operated Segway board and crisscrossing the stage with abundant ease, children displayed placards about human values and celebration of mother’s role.
A group of special children performed a musical show called ‘kitchen orchestra’, organized with a set of kitchen utensils to produce enticing music. Children staged group dances with their mothers and also siblings underlining the value that the home is a well-knit unit radiating love, compassion and unity. A child stunned the audience through demonstration of yoga and proved that those who practice yoga have ‘joy within, delight within and radiance within.’ Children from the Special Education wing of Pakistan School, Muscat presented a well-synchronized dance show.
Social story was devised as an interventional tool to help a person on autism spectrum to cope with changes to routine and unexpected events. When these children are taken to unknown places on tours, generally they tend to feel very uncomfortable. But by playing out a social story, which in essence compiles through pictures and presentations, the would-be scenario on a future situation, we can prepare the children in advance. Sajna, mother of an autistic child, narrated an experience of how she could enjoy with her family a tour of Singapore and a pilgrimage to Haj - both excellently supported by her special child. “SCG group volunteers helped me immensely in trying out the concept of social story with my son. On these tours, my son was not only superb but the best sweetheart throughout,” she said, inviting thunderous applause.
A short film on the preparations that go into SCG’s WAAD celebration covering the previous editions of WAAD hosted by SCG was screened for the benefit of audience. Rema Suresh Babu, a special educator and Subhasis Sarkar, Senior Occupational Therapist talked about their observations on the events put up by special children and brought out the useful lessons from each event and stressed that these can be practiced in day to day life for the betterment of children.
An emotional event was the cake cutting by mothers of special children. The large, colourful cake carried the message-“Mother, You Are Nothing Short of Amazing.” 32 mothers joined in the cake-cutting that was accompanied by showering of rose petals from above and they all felt deeply moved on sharing the cake with other mothers.
Mohamed Saliem Al Busaidy, the Chief Guest, speaking on the occasion said that he enjoyed the programme throughout and thanked the SCG wing of SAI group for their tireless efforts in organizing the memorable event and ISG for hosting the programme. He appealed to SAI group to continue this noble initiative and promised all support. He also distributed prizes to the special children.
Lamees Abbas Al Bahrani, the Guest of Honour distributed prizes to the siblings of special children and said the programme was ‘simply wonderful.’ Seetalakshmi proposed the vote of thanks. Anita Kotian and Shuba Umesh were the MCs.. A dinner was arranged after the cultural show.
All the participants felt inspired by the talents displayed the special children and left with pleasant memories and a take home message, “Gems lie hidden in each and every special child. If we keep looking, we will find them.”