Princess Muna Al Hussein sponsors the launch of the first autism conference
HRH Princess Muna Al Hussein on Saturday attended the launch of the first conference on autism under the title: "Towards Friendly and Inclusive Societies for Persons with Autism Spectrum".
The Conference, which is supported by the European Union, was attended by Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Wajih Owais, and was organized by Autism-Mena Foundation (Amena) in partnership with Saba Hamlet Foundation for Training.
The event aims to increase community awareness about autism spectrum disorder, change preconceived negative perceptions about people with autism spectrum, and increase community awareness of the daily barriers and obstacles facing this group. It is funded through the EU Social Protection support programme (2019), which aims to support social protection reforms and the development of an equitable and inclusive society in Jordan.
Minister of Education, Higher Education and Scientific Research Wajih Owais said that his ministry launched in 2020, with partners, a ten-year strategy for inclusive education, which emphasizes the values of justice, equality and acceptance of diversity, and considers autistic students and people with disabilities as part of the student community.
He indicated that the Ministry is working to provide early interventions for children with disabilities in kindergartens to integrate them with their peers and develop their skills and abilities to enable them to unlock their potential.
Owais confirmed that the ministry is already integrating 25,000 male and female students with disabilities in the ministry's public schools, 339 of whom are autistic students.
In a recorded speech, the European Union Ambassador to Jordan Maria Hadjitheodosiou said that Jordan and the European Union signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007.
She noted that the European Union supports Jordan's National Social Protection Strategy 2019-2025, and a 2017 plan that seeks to reform community care centers, professionalize social work, and support efforts to reintegrate people with disabilities.
Executive Director of Autism Mina (Amena) Jemman Hussein stressed the importance of the efforts led by His Highness Prince Mired bin Raad, president of the Higher Council for the Affairs of Persons with Disabilities, in promoting the level of care and attention to persons with disabilities, and his relentless efforts to create a society in which persons with disabilities enjoy a decent sustainable life, achieving effective participation based on equity and equality.
Hussein pointed to the importance of raising awareness in the community about autism spectrum disorder, and to empower mothers of people with this disorder through training and follow-up.
She indicated the need to develop the principle of inclusion and social integration for this category without discrimination, and integrate them academically into the education system in the Kingdom, as well as enabling graduates of the special education specialization to work with people with autism spectrum disorder.
She pointed out the need for all local community organizations to unite to confront the negative stereotype and prevailing opinions about autism spectrum disorder at various levels of the community through awareness campaigns, organizing activities and events and celebrating the World Autism Awareness Day, which falls on the second of April of each year.
She called on all competent authorities to contribute to helping marginalized children with autism to reach their full potential by overcoming all social and educational challenges they face.
Executive Director of Saba Hamlet Foundation, Ghada Saba, stressed the importance of integrating people with autism spectrum into the local community, pointing out the need for all segments of community to achieve this end.
Saba explained that "the world today is moving towards finding real and effective equality for all segments of community, without limiting it to one particular group without another."
She indicated that there are a number of obstacles and challenges to achieving the process of integrating people with autism spectrum, calling at the same time for the solidarity of the community with all its members and organizations to achieve this goal and thus overcome and reduce obstacles.