Initiatives to raise awareness about autism spectrum are springing up in Morocco, From mobilizing the media to holding autism campaigns and improving autism healthcare.
Rabat – Al Akhawayn Space for Children with Autism, a Moroccan association based in Rabat, is holding a campaign starting March 31 to spread awareness about autism in the country.
The campaign will last for multiple days and include several awareness programs and sports activities, such as small marathons, for children with autism and their families.
Al Akhawayn hopes it will help parents connect with their children and learn more about what they can do to help them overcome their challenges.
The campaign, at the same time, aims to inspire other associations and NGOs into action and into joining in spreading autism awareness.
Established in 2011, Al Akhawayn Space for Children with Autism supports families and their children with autism by providing educational programs and a space for the children to help them socialize and communicate in a safe environment.
More autism-friendly events, more awareness
The association is not the only initiator in raising autism awareness.
On the World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, the Moroccan National Library in Rabat will also host a conference featuring several professors, researchers, psychologists, and health experts in the field of autism.
The conference seeks to discuss issues such as schooling for children with autism in Morocco.
It will present the latest developments in autism research and a report on the situation of autism in Morocco, discuss health coverage for autism, and organize awareness workshops for the parents of children with autism.
The event will also provide psychological counseling for the parents to help ease their parental stress, given the impact of autism on the lives of parents.
On April 4, the event will hold entertainment programs for the participants and their children with autism.
A ray of hope
Despite the lack of research and medical training for autism in Morocco, the country is taking steps to bridge the knowledge gap.
In January, 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.
Students pursuing the degree will receive three years of training on autism approaches and interventions to improve the lives of people on the spectrum. The training program seeks to produce 20 qualified professionals each year.
The autism education degree program will also support families in difficult conditions to better care for their children with autism.
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.