Centre helps determined children find their way

Centre helps determined children find their way

Dubai - The initiative trains autistic and other developmentally challenged kids on what to do in case they get lost or separated from their parents or caregivers

By Saman Haziq

Published: Sat 3 Mar 2018, 7:43 PM

Last updated: Sat 3 Mar 2018, 9:48 PM

The Safe Center for Autism and Asperger's Syndrome (Dubai) school has tied up with security company G4S to launch a weekly campaign to educated children of determination on the steps to take if they get lost or separated from their parents or caregivers.
Calling the initiative a safety programme, the centre hopes to empower children with autism and other developmental delays, so that they are able to get help when needed.
"It can be quite daunting for the child if he gets lost, is separated from his parents and is unable to see familiar faces around him. We are training the students to learn how to reach out to a security guard; we are ensuring that they always have an ID card with their parents' contact number on it," Marijke Fox, a teacher at Safe Center, told Khaleej Times.
Enacting the situation in a classroom at the centre, Fox said: "We started by introducing simple stories with simple sentences like 'I like to go out with my parents. I need to stay near my parents.' We then showed them pictures of security guards and teach them how to recognise a person in uniform and how to reach out to them. The second step was inviting G4S security guards to our school, to familiarise them with security guards and their appearance."
"If every child is given this training and interaction with a security officer, it will not only make life easier for all but also raise awareness among people who have not interacted much with determined ones. Be open minded if you see a child behave differently. If you see a child in distress, don't ignore him or her, but approach them," Marijke added.
The school has given the children two ID cards - one for the classrooms and one for their home, so that when parents go out with them, they can use these ID cards.
Speaking about the importance of the initiative, Meghana, parent of a determined one at the centre, said: "This is a very good initiative as it will teach my minimally-verbal son to approach security guards if he gets lost. Many times, my son Aryan just wanders away at malls and if it wasn't for the security guards around, we wouldn't have found him. Therefore, it's extremely important to sensitise and train security at public places and special needs kids on what to do in such circumstances."
"We would like our children to be an active part of the community. Teaching children about safety around strangers is extremely important, but for the parents of determined children, this can be a challenging task. This initiative is our way of creating awareness on helping such children who may be lost in a mall or a public place, and at the same time, teaching the child on how to deal with a situation such as this by approaching the right person," said Mabhouba Yousef, founder and director of Safe Center.

More news from