Year 2022 has been another year where Autism without Borders was able to reach thousands of lives and influence hundreds directly. Based in a low-socio economic country where behavioral and neurodevelopmental disorders are often neglected, it has indeed been a milestone to spread awareness, inculcate acceptance in society and promote timely interventions.
Following ‘without borders’ aspect people from different parts of the world became part of AWB’s team through Volunteer Program initiated this year. Through this we were able to spread AWB tentacles in various fields and cultures. Parents from different countries are being accommodated through Parent support group on WhatsApp, Webinars on ZOOM and Facebook. At Autism without Borders we believe that ‘Team work makes the dream work’, taking this approach further we had four more collaborations this year; we joined hands with Little pure souls, Karachi Autism Group, Tiny Tyme and Foundation Autism Wing, Foundation University. Together we can bring the difference and facilitate community in a better way. Taking a step forward, AWB decided to invade another Social media channel by starting a Youtube Channel https://www.youtube.com/@autismwithoutborders3457 and reached larger population.
Various Awareness sessions and trainings were arranged this year including informative webinars for Healthcare providers and Children Caregivers whose details are mentioned below ‘These awareness sessions were viewed by almost 14 Thousand viewers from different parts of the world and via different platforms.
Summary of Webinars:
|23rd January||Mental Health in Children||Dr. Muhammad Zeeshan
Dr. Dur-e-Samin Akram (Chairperson)
|4th March||Strategies for developing language and building communication skills||Ms. Batool Mirza|
|13th April||Journey of Autism and Parenting||Ms. Nadia Riaz|
|28th May||Speech and Language Disorder in children||Ms. Khadija Abbasi|
|16th June||ABA therapy enlightening Autism||Ms. Nadia Riaz
Ms. Nighat Haroon
|22nd June||How to Connect with Autistic Brain||Dr. Aniqa Sohail|
|6th August||Hollistic Approach towards Autism||Ms. Batool Raza|
|7th September||Adulthood and Autism- A lived experience||Mr. Asad Mirza|
|10th September||Mental Health of parents having special needs kids||Ms. Rafia Irum|
|15th October||Symptoms and signs to look for in a child’s mental health||Dr. Azra Rafiq ( Talk on Mental health Summit arranged by Batool Mirza)|
|26th November||Development of Individualized Education Plan for Autism||Dr. Aniqa Sohail
|18th December||Autism Spectrum Disorder and role of social work as an Allied profession||Dr. Azra Rafiq
Dr. Anila Khan
Dr. Syeda Farhana
Along with webinars, AWB also participated in various in-person workshops and conferences.
In Karachi, AWB started a Well baby clinic at its head office – Karachi Medical Complex, twice a week. Well baby clinic can be a powerful tool for detecting autism early in children, which also means better control of symptoms and a better outcome.
In-person Workshops and Conferences.
|26th January||Role of Well Baby Clinics for Child Health||ZMT Clinic, Karachi||Dr. Anwar Nadeem,
Dr. Azra Rafiq
|3rd February||Autism Awareness and Management||Disabled Welfare Association (DWA), Karachi||Dr. Azra Rafiq|
|31st March||Early Years Matter,
International Conference on Autism 2022
|Pakistan Centre for Autism||Dr. Azra Rafiq|
|3rd September||Dealing with slow learners in Classrooms, Accepting children with special needs and Autism Awareness||Auj Down Syndrome Plan & Al-Asr School||Ms. Shazia Zeb|
|25th September||Challenges faced by teachers in mainstream, inclusive and special schools along with challenges faced by parents of neuro-typical and special needs kids||Auj Down Syndrome Plan & Al-Asr School Islamabad||Ms. Nadia Riaz|
|10th October||Journey as Aspiring Professional on Speech and language Pathology Day||Quaid-e-Azam International Hospital, Islamabad.||Ms. Nadia Riaz|
|12th October||Autism Screening Diagnosis and Intervention, Paediatric Conference||Sindh Government Qatar Hospital, Karachi||Dr. Azra Rafiq
Dr. Samra Baig
Ms. Tayyaba Ghosia
|29th October||Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can, Poster presentation (won first prize)||Federation of Islamic Medical Association Convention 2022||Ms. Nadia Riaz|
|29th October||Early Years Matter||Federation of Islamic Medical Association) Convention 2022||Dr. Azra Rafiq|
|1st November||Every child a special child- Your child needs you||Envision an Inclusive society Symposium, Foundation University Islamabad||Dr. Azra Rafiq|
|1st November||Contribution of Autism without Borders towards special needs community and Intervention||Envision an Inclusive society Symposium, Foundation University||Ms. Nadia Riaz|
|20th November||Walk on Universal children day||Karachi Arts Council to Press Club, Arranged by KONPAL child abuse prevention society||Dr. Azra Rafiq (Participated as AWB Representative)|
|21st November||Children Rights, Our Responsibilities||Saylani Thalassemia Center||Dr. Azra Rafiq|
|7th December||CME on “Understanding and Managing Autism: An Update”||Sindh Government Children hospital North Karachi||Dr. Azra Rafiq|
|17th December||Free of cost medical checkup, ASD screening and awareness session||Karachi Medical Complex, Karachi||Dr. Azra Rafiq
|18th December||National Conference Addressing Mental health and addiction||Rawalpindi Medical University||Ms. Nadia Riaz (Participated as AWB Representative)|
|30th December||addressing Parents’ queries related to their children with special needs||National Park Sharjah, UAE.||Ms. Nadia Riaz|
After success of 1st Batch, 2nd batch of 3 days Master Trainer Program was arranged with SNIC India. This free of cost program focused on the role of well-baby clinics, growth monitoring, developmental screening and Interventions. 24 short trainings were also given on WhatsApp groups in addition to Grand awareness webinars and training workshops; various Awareness and knowledgeable posts were shared on our Facebook page for our followers; recordings of Live sessions are also available on the Facebook Page and YouTube channel.
Moreover, different success stories of Children with Autism and other disabilities are also shared with public for motivation and giving parents a hope. https://www.facebook.com/autismwithoutborders.ca For Referral Mechanism Autism Blue Book is available at our website Autism Without Borders having 260 entries of Institutes and Professionals in all the four provinces of Pakistan catering to the needs of Children with different abilities especially Autism. More than 3000 screenings were performed and guided using M.CHAT and CAST Screening tools for Infants and child respectively which are available at our website www.autismwithoutborders.ca.
Nonetheless, hundreds of Free Individual Consultations and counselling were provided under the umbrella of Autism without Borders by Project Director and Coordinator to serve community at large.
This year has indeed been a success in accomplishing the goal of Autism Without Border. Much is achieved by devoting time and little financial resources. The Challenge is global but solutions are local. Families, communities, NGO’s and Government should make concerted efforts to prevent the damage by ensuring early diagnosis and timely interventions to all the segments. Professionals and Children Caregivers can work towards a common goal of inclusion, equal participation and independent living.
To give your valuable suggestions, comments and for any query feel free to e-mail us on Autism.email@example.com
Report By: Nadia Riaz– Project Coordinator
Mahrukh Khan – AWB Active Volunteer (Final Year MBBS student)