UAE: 8-year-old Emirati boy speaks for the first time, beating chronic conditions

Suhail underwent a six-month intensive treatment at Abu Dhabi’s Al Mushrif Children’s Specialty Centre


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Tue 23 Apr 2024, 10:45 AM

Last updated: Tue 23 Apr 2024, 9:51 PM

Suhail, an eight-year-old Emirati boy with severe speech limitations, no longer needs to cry and struggle to express himself. Battling chronic conditions and disorders, he has been able to finally speak for the first time following a six-month intensive treatment at Abu Dhabi’s Al Mushrif Children’s Specialty Centre.

At three, Suhail was diagnosed with epilepsy, dysarthria and oral dysphagia. Epilepsy is a chronic disease of the brain causing repeated seizures, dysarthria is a motor speech disorder and oral dysphagia leads to problems in swallowing.

With five years of therapy, Suhail achieved success with sounds and syllables, but was unable to express himself fully and battled with basic and essential tasks such as eating.

After an initial examination and assessment, Emadaddin Ali Al Rababah, speech therapist at Al Mushrif Children’s Specialty Centre and Al Towayya Children’s Specialty Centre in Al Ain, crafted a treatment plan comprising three sessions per week over six months. However, by adopting a systematic and comprehensive approach to the treatment, a significant improvement was reported in a week.

Suhail’s oral muscle strength, range of motion, and speech production skills saw remarkable improvement. He began to articulate mono- and multi-syllabic words, chew solid foods with more ease, and manage his saliva control more effectively.

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Today, Suhail continues to refine his language skills and oral muscle strength as part of an ongoing speech therapy programme.

Dr Fawaghi Al Naqbi, deputy chief medical officer at Ambulatory Healthcare Services (AHS), praised the progress made by Suhail in such a short time.

“The treatment’s success reflects Suhail’s determination as well as the range and quality of expertise in AHS’s network of speciality clinics, which are part of the broader PureHealth ecosystem.”

The centre is part of the AHS network, a subsidiary of PureHealth, the largest healthcare platform in the Middle East.

Al Rababah underlined that Suhail’s ability to speak has improved because of his determination and his parent’s commitment to the sessions. “He is now assimilated back into everyday life and using his speech to express himself at home.”

Suhail’s newfound ability to communicate has profoundly impacted his life and that of his family.

“Before treatment, Suhail’s condition was difficult in terms of speech and swallowing, as he would not speak unless he needed something and used crying as a way to express what he wanted to say. This condition was difficult for us because we wanted to understand exactly what he wanted,” the family said.

After just a week of treatment, the family noticed major differences.

“He began to say some letters. He can now pronounce words and talk to us. We are very happy with this improvement, and we thank all the employees and doctors who spared no effort to support Suhail and help us understand his condition and how to deal with it,” the family said.


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