Dubai reaches out to kids in remote areas

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Dubai reaches out to kids in remote areas
A child gets screened for dental problems as part of the 'Early Detection Campaign' launched by the Community Development Authority in Hatta.

Campaign to identify children at risk for developmental delays


Kelly Clarke

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Published: Mon 25 Apr 2016, 6:25 PM

Five-year-old Hatta student, Ahmed Mustafa, was one of the first children to be screened as part of an awareness campaign by the Community Development Authority (CDA) on Sunday, and according to his results, he is growing just fine.
"He performed well in the screening tests, so I'm happy," his mother, Shaima Mekawy, said.
The CDA's 'Early Detection Campaign' is an extensive development screening drive to identify children at risk for developmental delays.
Healthcare experts recommend children undergo developmental screening regularly till the age of six. However, this is Ahmed's first time being checked.
Living in a remote area of Hatta, his mother said it is difficult to get access to the right facilities to have her four children regularly screened. "For now there is nothing for us other than what CDA provides. This mobile screening is good for us and I hope to encourage my friends to get their children screened too."

Sample of questionnaire for kids aged between 57 and 66 monthsAnswer 'yes', 'sometimes' or 'not yet'
> Communication:
What do you do when you get tired? (Acceptable answers include: "take a nap", "rest", "go to sleep", "go to bed", "lie down" and "sit down")
> Gross Motor:
Does your child skip using alternating feet? (You may show him/her how to do this)
> Fine Motor:
Print your child's first name. Can your child copy the letters? The letters may be large, backward, or reversed. (Mark "sometimes" if your child copies about half of the letters)
> Problem solving:
Does your child count up to 15 without making mistakes? If so, mark "yes". If your child counts to 12 without making mistakes, mark "sometimes"
> Personal-social:
Does your child dress and undress himself, including buttoning medium-sized buttons and zipping front zippers?
Over the next week, the CDA hopes to screen "about 200 children" using its two mobile Sanad RV units, which are designed and equipped to provide early intervention therapy services to children, said Khaled Al Kamda, Director-General of CDA.
Teaming up with Hatta Hospital and three local education facilities - including Al Basateen Nursery at the Women's Association in Hatta, Khadija bint Khowailed School and Hatta School for Boys - the campaign aims to find children who might benefit from early detection services before their condition becomes more complicated. 
Screening tests
Screening tests, lasting 30 to 45 minutes, will be carried out on each child by a specialist in early detection signs, with five main points of focus put under the spot light: Communication, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, problem solving, and personal-social development.
"In total, we have 22 questionnaires, each specific to a certain age group. For instance, one covers children aged 57 months to 66 months. Six questions will be answered in each category," one of the specialists told Khaleej Times.
At the end of each screening, the specialist will then determine the result of each child, choosing from one of three categories: 'Developing typically'; 'Some concern' (referral needed for in-depth assessment); or 'Gray zone - monitoring needed' (to be re-screened in one to three months).
For parents of children who test positive for possible developmental delays, the next stage will be to confirm a diagnosis.
"These questionnaires are one of the most reliable around with false positive and false negative results very rare. If a screening does prove positive, the child will be referred to Hatta Hospital for a clinical diagnosis," the specialist said.
A programme to support that child will then be carried out by the Shaikha Maitha Bin Rashid Centre for Children with Special Needs in Hatta.
Thankfully for Mekawy, Ahmed is developing just as any child his age should be.
But she said many of her friends have raised the issue of delayed speech in their children. "This is why screening like this is important to us. It answers questions we need answering."
And it provides a solution to the problem too, Kamda added.
Stationed in Hatta for one week, within the next few months the mobile team will then work its way back to Dubai stopping in different areas, although the location plan is still being rolled-out.
The second batch of screenings will take place on the mobile units outside the Women's Association today, and on Wednesday, Hatta Hospital will also receive families with their children under the age of 6 to carry out developmental screening, as well as vision and hearing check-ups.

Khaled Al Kamda, Director-General of CDA, during a dental screening. Screening tests, lasting 30 to 45 minutes, will be carried out on each child by a specialist.
Khaled Al Kamda, Director-General of CDA, during a dental screening. Screening tests, lasting 30 to 45 minutes, will be carried out on each child by a specialist.

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