Internship Program

Session 01: 15 November 2023 – Opening Ceremony of Internship Program

Session on Special Children, Special Needs – By Dr. Azra Rafiq
Session on Children Rights in Special Needs Children – By Dr Aisha Mehnaz

The Inauguration of Internship Program 2023 by Autism Without Borders marked the successful commencement of its first session today.

Distinguished speakers included Dr. Azra Rafiq, who addressed the theme of “Special Children, Special Needs,” and Prof. Dr. Ayesha Mehnaz, who spoke on “Children’s Rights in Special Needs Children.” The Internship Program attracted participants from diverse backgrounds, including parents of children with Autism, psychology and special education students, O-level students, teachers, and doctors. The event, held at Karachi Medical Complex in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi, featured an engaging and interactive discussion on the subject.

The opening ceremony at Karachi Medical Complex was graced by Jhamandas Rathi from DEPD (Department of Empowering Persons with Different Abilities), Dr. Shaista Naz, Speech Therapist and Assistant Professor in the Special Education Department at Karachi University, Sir Naushad Shoukat, Senior Speech Therapist, and Audiologist and Dr. Nayyar Ahmad, Medical Officer and Coordinator ASM-AWB. They not only honored the commencement of the Internship Program but also actively participated in the insightful discussions.

Session 02: 18 November 2023 – FREE Medical Camp in collaboration with DEPD

Session on Early Years Matter – By Dr. Azra Rafiq
Session on Gadgets and their Impact on Children – By Dr. Iqbal Memon

Today is 18 November 2023 – Universal Children Day.
To celebrate this we successfully hosted a Free Medical Camp for children in collaboration with Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPD).

The event featured complimentary services such as Free Screening, Free Consultation, and free Therapies (Behavioral, Occupational, Speech Therapies), along with Parents Counseling and Nutritional Guidance and much more.
Moreover, we even distributed gifts to all the children present to bring a smile on their face.

Two enlightening sessions took place during the event.
The first, titled ‘For Every Child, Every Right – Early Years Matters,’ featured the esteemed speaker, Dr. Azra Rafiq, a consultant pediatrician. Dr. Azra delved into the significance of a child’s early years as a critical period for growth and development.

The second session focused on ‘Gadgets and their Impacts on Children.’ Prof. Dr. Iqbal Memon, the speaker, delivered a lively and interactive presentation highlighting the adverse effects of gadget use on children. He emphasized the importance of healthy development and underscored the significance of the polio vaccine.


Session 03:20 November 2023 

Session on Growth Monitoring, Development and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Screening – By Dr. Nayyar Ahmad

The focus of today’s session was about “Growth Monitoring, Development, and ASD Screening,” led by Dr. Nayyar Ahmad. During the presentation, Dr. Nayyar shared valuable insights into the growth and developmental milestones of children, what they are and emphasizing the importance of effective monitoring.

She delved into the significance of Well-baby Clinics and the crucial role they play in ensuring regular checkups for children. She also provided guidance on screening for Autism using the M-CHAT-R checklist and shared practical tips for promoting a healthier lifestyle for growing children. The session included an enlightening Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) segment, where attendees gained additional knowledge on various relevant topics.

Session 04: 25 November 2023

Session on Understanding and Managing Autism – By Dr. Azra Rafiq

Session on Understanding the Role and Responsibilities of Speech Therapists and Providing Guidelines on Preparation of Intervention Plans – By Dr. Shaista Naz
In today’s fourth session of the Internship Program, participants attended two insightful lectures. The first session, delivered by Dr. Azra, was on the topic of Understanding and Managing Autism where she outlined the symptoms of autism, providing valuable insights into how caregivers should navigate and address these challenges in children.

The second session by Dr. Shaista Naz, was on ‘Understanding the role and responsibilities of speech therapists in assessing children with special needs and providing guidelines on preparation of Intervention Plans’. This session was dedicated to an exploration of the pivotal role and responsibilities of speech therapists in assessing children with special needs. The lecture also shed light on the formulation of Intervention Plans.

Both sessions helped us gain comprehensive understandings of both topics equipping us with more knowledge.


27 November 2023 – Mental Wellbeing Session

We conducted a Mental Wellbeing Session by our 3 lecturers. The main theme of this session was about care of Caregivers. Mental Wellbeing is as important as our Physical Wellbeing which should be taken into account.

The session started off with Deep Breathing and Stretching exercises by Dr Nayyar Ahmad who is the Medical Officer and Coordinator of ASM AWB. She then gave a session about the Importance of Mental Health for Parents of Special Needs Children which was very insightful, and she touched on various aspects about it.

The second session was by Anayah Ahmed, an Associate Clinical Psychologist and Project Coordinator of ASM AWB. The session was about dealing with burnout that caregivers face through practicing self-care and self-love by building a practical and realistic Self-Care Plan and how to face stressors with healthy and adaptive coping responses.

The third session was by Dr. Sarah Zafar. She has a B.DS, and a Diploma in Nutrition and Therapeutics. She gave a knowledgeable session about Essential Nutritional Requirements for Life. She explained different types of macro and micro nutrients and why they are vital for us.

Session 05: 2 December 2023

Session on Speech Therapy its Challenges and Solutions – By Sir Naushad Shaukat

Session on ‘Role of Medicines in Special Needs Children – By Dr. Atif Saeed Anjum

On 2nd December, we conducted 2 featured sessions.

The first was by Sir Naushad Shaukat. He is a Senior Special Educator, Audiologist and Speech Therapist. His session was about ‘Speech Therapy, its Challenges and Solutions’. It was a very informative, lively, and interactive session. Sir Naushad even engaged the participants through oral and vocal speech exercises.

The second session was by Dr. Atif Saeed Anjum about ‘Roles of Medicine for Special Needs Children’. Dr Atif is a Pediatric Neurologist, Neuropsychologist, NICH, Karachi and Director BMDRC. He explained various medications tailored to use for different types of special children. Being a neuropsychologist, he emphasized on the importance of medical intervention coupled with psychological therapy by highlighting their collective significance.


04 December 2023 – Sensory Issues in Children.

This session was on Sensory Issues in Children.

The session started off with deep breathing and relaxation exercises for the first few minutes.

After that, Dr. Nayyar Ahmad, ASM-AWB Karachi Coordinator, conducted a valuable and interactive session about Sensory Issues in Children

She covered various topics about what are different senses. She explained what means by sensory overload and how does a child behave and react to different sensory environments and stimulations.

She then told us about various Strategies and Activities Plan for Supporting children with sensory issues while keeping in mind their individual differences.

After that Anayah Ahmed, an associate psychologist of ASM-AWB Coordinator for Pakistan, talked about how to make a sensory profile using the Sensory Scoring checklist and then catering to the child’s individual needs.


DEPD Visit: 7 December 2023

For our Session 07 of the ASM-AWB Internship Program, we had A Field Visit of Government Special Education and Rehab Complex, where we gained a firsthand experience of the dedicated efforts put forth by teachers and the incredible talents of differently-abled students

Autism Without Borders and DEPD had organized a heartwarming and inspiring field Visit at Government Special Education and Rehab Complex which was very beautifully designed and decorated by the students and teachers.

The day started off with Sir Nadeem Baig giving a round of the whole complex, all the departments and classes. The interns interacted and got involved with the amazing and talented Special Differently abled children who were studying under dedicated and passionate teachers whom we could see were putting in so much hard work and efforts for their students.

We even got to see the handicrafts and art work such as paintings, arts and crafts, wooden work, resin work, clothings and much much more made by these students.

We then had two sessions. The first one was about ‘Prevention of Disabilities’ by Dr. Azra Rafiq – A consultant Pediatrician and Project Director of ASM-AWB. In this session she emphasized on how important it is for us to take care of the child beginning from the pre-natal stage to ensure a happy and healthy child.

The second session was on ‘Services of Department of empowerment of persons with disabilities and issuance of disability certificate” by Sir Jhamandas Rathi. He is the Director Special Education Teacher’s Training Academy Sindh. He gave a very informative session about what services DEPD is providing and about the process of obtaining a Disability Certificate. He then had an enlightening QnA session with our interns to help them with their queries to clarify doubts and gain a better understanding.

Overall, it was a very well-rounded experiential and fun day, leaving a positive and transformative impact. and we enjoyed a lot and fostering a greater appreciation for the government efforts in special education and rehabilitation, influencing the interns to carry forward the lessons learned into their future endeavors.


Session 08: 9 December 2023

Children’s Rights, Our Responsibilities – An Islamic Perspective.

The session started off by Dr. Azra Rafiq interacting with each intern one-on-one, asking them about their future plans and how can they work for the betterment of our community to raise awareness.

She then conducted a session, about ‘Children’s Rights, Our Responsibilities – An Islamic Perspective’. In this Session, she taught how valuable every child is for us regarding their race, cast or ethnicity. She told as to how children are important from an Islamic Perspective and what rights do they have which we should take care of.

She also told us about how we should do their upbringing in the light of Islam. Thus, it was a very enlightening and interactive session for the internees.


Session 09: 11 December 2023

Session 09 of the Internship Program took place at Sindh Govt Children’s Hospital. The whole session was led by Dr Khalid Zuberi, a distinguished Consultant Pediatrician. He welcomed all the participants and orchestrated the whole event.

This session delved into the holistic approach to addressing the needs of children with special requirements, offering a profound perspective from the field of paediatrics. Dr. Azra Rafiq, Consultant Paediatrician and Project Director of ASM-AWB, initiated the session by introducing Autism without Borders and talked about the objectives of the ASM-AWB Internship Program.

Dr. Sidra Kaleem, a Developmental Pediatrician and Pediatric Neurologist, conducted an enlightening session. She emphasized on the importance of adopting a holistic approach that involves a collaborative effort from a diverse team comprising of paediatricians, therapists, psychologists, and teachers. The session addressed the need for every facet of a child’s well-being, considering physical, mental, psychosocial and emotional aspects. She also provided insights with evidence-based practices, emphasizing the significance of research-backed methodologies in the field.

In conclusion, Dr. Taj Laghari, the General Secretary of PPA Sindh, delivered closing remarks, urging each participant to actively contribute to the betterment of society. His words emphasized the collective responsibility we all share in enhancing the well-being and opportunities for individuals with special needs.

14 December 2023: Closing Ceremony

The Autism Surveillance Management – Autism Without Borders (ASM-AWB) Internship Program – 2023 comes to a remarkable end!

This Internship Program was done in Collaboration with Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPD). Sir Jhamandas Rathi, who is Director Special Education teacher’s training Academy Sindh, collaborated with us from DEPD. He provided us with immense support throughout the journey.

The first batch of our Internship Program consisted of a great diverse mix of 31 participants which included Doctors from their various fields, Students of different study backgrounds mainly Psychology and Special Education and Parents.

The Objectives of this Internship Program was to raise awareness and educate these caregivers about How to understand the needs and how to manage Special Children.

14 December 2023 marked the Closing Ceremony of the ASM-AWB Internship Program. The noteworthy Closing Ceremony started off with our last session, Session 10, ‘Updates on the Treatments of Cerebral Palsy’. This informative session was by Dr. Raman Kumar who is an esteemed FCPS Pediatric, Fellowship Pediatric Neurology AKUH, Consultant Pediatric Neurologist, an Assistant Professor and Section Head at Pediatric Development Unit at Liaquat National Hospital. He delivered a captivating and insightful session on Cerebral Palsy, providing a comprehensive understanding and bringing a fitting end to the internship program.

Following the session, we preceded to the Certificate Distribution Ceremony where as a token of gratitude and affection we presented our dedicated Guest Speakers; Sir Jhamandas Rathi, Dr. Aisha Mehnaz, Dr. Iqbal Memon, Dr. Nayyar Ahmad, Dr. Shaista Naz, Dr. Sidra Kaleem, Sir Naushad Shaukat, Dr. Atif Saaed Anjum and Dr. Raman Kumar with Bouquets, Ajrak and Certificates.

As a final gesture, we distributed certificates to all our passionate interns, acknowledging their commitment and hard work throughout the ASM-AWB Internship Program – 2023. We wish them all good luck for their future endeavors.

Autism without Borders