Seeing the potential in the children, not their disability
The DAC is an incredible, four-story specialised school supporting 240 autistic children, ranging from two to 18 years old. Focusing on technology to help the children learn how to function in ‘normal’ society, with the ultimate aim to integrate into it, the DAC offers these youngsters a positive future through a digital door.
A highly specialised school, the DAC has 34 classrooms, 23 therapy rooms and many extracurricular spaces. These include state of the art speech therapy, motor skills, relaxation, dark sensory, robot-assisted, music and computer rooms; a library, photo studio, barber and cafeteria; they even have a cinema, gym, swimming pool and garden to help meet the children’s very specific needs. As autistic children are often incredible artists there is also an art room, which uses technology to help the children express and develop their often artistic genius. And, as autistic children have lung issues, salt is diffused through the air to make breathing easier for them.
“The source of our concern for special needs people is to give each individual in our society the attention and care they deserve”, explains DAC Chairman, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.
Relying solely on donations from local and international companies, the DAC also raises funds by training organisations on how to deal with and support autistic children and adults: as Dubai Airport is set to become autism-friendly this year, Emirates Airlines cabin crew are currently undergoing training at the school.
How we’re helping the DAC
Finding it difficult to communicate verbally, autistic children react very positively to non-verbal communication methods and tools, which is why Micro Focus Dubai is donating a number of Samsung tablets to the center. Says Gonzalo Usandizaga, VP & GM Emerging Markets, “We’ll be among the first to provide such technological learning enhancements to this community. The tablets will be a key learning method for these children, and digital transformation of this kind will be a key tool in assisting the UAE autistic community.”
Says Salam Kobrossi, CSR ambassador for Micro Focus Dubai and the driver behind this wonderful venture, “The DAC has developed a specialised app called Yanmou for the children to use for the first time at the centre and on the Samsung devices we’ve provided. As part of our wider support to the center, our presales team are testing its functionality, and will provide their recommendations.”
All employees from the Dubai office will have the opportunity to attend a volunteering day in February, as one of their two annual volunteering days available to all employees. Up to 60 colleagues will be given an introduction to autism, and then split into two people per group of children, spending an hour and a half with them. The volunteers will then regroup in groups of three and workshop fundraising ideas for the center, as they have a budget deficit of USD 600,000. The teams will then consolidate and present the final ideas to the center for them to use, if they want to.