Morocco is on its way toward overcoming the lack of research and medical training for autism.
Rabat – The Faculty Of Medicine and Pharmacy (FMPC) in Casablanca inaugurated the first university degree focused on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Morocco and the rest of the Maghreb on Tuesday.
Students pursuing the degree will receive three years of training on autism approaches and interventions to improve the lives of people on the autism spectrum. The training program will produce 20 qualified professionals each year.
The autism education degree program will also support families in difficult conditions to better care for and attend to the needs of their children with autism.
Mustapha Abu Maarouf, the dean of FMPC, told Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) the training should benefit doctors, psychologists, and other healthcare professionals as well as fill the gap in practical knowledge about the spectrum in the country.
The degree was created in partnership with the Mohammed VI National Center for People with Special Needs, the Orange Foundation in Morocco and France, and Belgium’s SUSA Foundation caring for children with autism.
Autism is “a range of conditions characterised by some degree of impaired social behaviour, communication and language, and a narrow range of interests and activities that are both unique to the individual and carried out repetitively,” as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Lack of medical research in the field of autism mirrors the lack of awareness about the spectrum and proper care in Morocco.
Parents of children with autism are often left to handle the condition alone. It is especially difficult for families with limited income to educate and help their children become active members of society.
It is, however, about time that Morocco fills the gap.