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The Doris Duan-Young Autism Center: Changing lives one at a time

Farhana Chowdhury
Filed on August 20, 2020 | Last updated on August 20, 2020 at 01.39 pm

The Observation Room at DDY Autism Center

Dr. Ben Hadj Hassine, CEO at DDY Autism Center

The Reception at DDY Autism Center

The Doris Duan-Young Autism Center, nurtured under the leadership of CEO Dr. Ben Hadj Hassine, provides an interactive state-of-the-art hub for speech, behaviour and vocational therapies along the autistic spectrum

Children of determination hold incredible potential to excel in a dynamic society, and this can be unlocked with the right set of therapies, approaches and a positive environment. Passionate about philosophy and the betterment of child care, Dr. Ben embarked on a journey as the CEO of The Doris Duan-Young Autism Center to help youth with developmental challenges gain skills and become integrated in our dynamic world.

The award-winning facility, founded in 2014 by The Doris Duan-Young Autism Center and set in the heart of Dubai Healthcare City, adopts a multi-disciplinary approach and specialised programmes complete with certified therapists and trainers to guide them into independent adults.

Dr. Ben played a prominent role in the early years of the centre. Despite being faced with a number of business challenges, he had identified key areas that required attention upon consultation with employees, strategised solutions, and established a novel framework and restructured the team to successfully raise The Doris Duan-Young Autism Center's status as one of the leading institutes of its kind in the region.

Under his leadership, The Doris Duan-Young Autism Center soon expanded to include two new Therapeutic centres and one Admin office, and further gained recognition, not just in the GCC, but also across the globe. It now proudly caters to more than 200 families, many of whom have specifically come to the UAE to receive treatment from The Doris Duan-Young Autism Center.

Internationally recognised specialists

A step into The Doris Duan-Young Autism Center reveals a vibrant and stimulating ambience, a setting that has been nurtured by Dr. Ben with care and attention to detail. Its colourful décor and friendly staff leading the way to a fun and secure environment. The vicinity also follows strict protocols for hygiene and has put in place a number of safety features, such as padded walls and soft flooring, for the enhanced safety of each child.

According to Dr. Ben, The Doris Duan-Young Autism Center strictly recruits specialists recognized by The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) in order to provide effective sessions for youth with autism. Its highly skilled team, who hail from different countries, consists of five BCBAs, five BCaBAs and 42 Registered Behaviour Technicians (RBT) that are seasoned in state-of-the-art therapies and techniques. "Our team identifies challenging behaviour and supports children to become independent. We also ensure that our staff is engaged in furthering education and stay up to date with the most recent research in the field," said Dr. Ben. The centre specialises in childhood speech and language disorders, such as articulation, dyslexia, stuttering and dyspraxia, among others, led by a team of highly trained Speech Therapists.

Effective therapies and techniques

The Doris Duan-Young Autism Center is a cut above the rest, and received a number of accolades for being among the first in the region to implement certain internationally-recognised techniques to assist children of determination with strong focus on the autistic spectrum.

Dr. Ben believes that parents' engagement with their child is crucial to ensure their smooth transition to independence in the real world, which is what led to the set-up of the observation room.
"A child would come to the centre and spend around three to five hours with us, but the rest of the time is spent at home with parents. Our observation room is a one-way mirror that allows parents to witness how their children behaves and interacts with our therapists. Often, they are pleasantly surprised to see the difference in behaviour. We want parents to be as involved at home, so they can work towards good results," he said.

The sensory integration room, known as Magic Carpet, is another unique concept of The Doris Duan-Young Autism Center. It stimulates all the five senses with music, games, visuals, etc. and improves self-awareness, further proving to be a positive form of therapy for
certain cases.

Engaging the community

The Doris Duan-Young Autism Center also organises community events to raise awareness, educate others and engage families through a series of fun and games, in order to build a better support system for autistic children. It also serves as a platform for them to practice social skills.
Dr. Ben praised the continued efforts of UAE's leadership in creating healthcare hubs and platforms to help people of determination be a functioning part of our society.

"The leaders of the country are doing a lot to provide care and support for those with special needs. Dubai has made amazing progress with knowledge in supporting children, and community awareness has been made extremely important," he added. 

Awards and accolades

. DHCC Excellence Award 2019: Health Innovation Award in Outpatient Clinics category
. Certificate of Satisfactory Completion from CPQ for The Doris Duan-Young Autism Center's Ground floor and Sixth floor facilities
. Letter of Appreciation presented by DHCC, DHA and Saudi Attaché
. Certificate of Appreciation from DHCC on last World Autism Awareness Day 2018


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