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Children with special needs suffer the most

18 Aug 2020

With schools closed and outdoors activities halted for long, children continue to be the most affected during the COIVD-19 pandemic, especially those with special needs.  

The condition of Autistic and Down Syndrome children has been worse as the closure of their special schools and rehabilitation centres has affected their overall health and psychology.  

Taking note of the situation, the National Committee for Family Affairs held a virtual conference under the chairmanship of H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Said bin Saif al Kalbani, Minister of Social Development, on Monday. 

The meeting reviewed a number of topics, including recommendations of the first GCC Autism Conference’s recommendations and the role of family and community in accommodating this segment of students in schools and society.  

The meeting also discussed the return of such students to schools and their social and psychological problems because of being confined to their homes for an extended period of time. The meeting also pondered over the impact of closure of parks and public play areas due to the pandemic. 

Dr Asia Muhammed al Numaniyah, specialist physician, Child Health Department, Women and Child Health Department, Ministry of Health, had recently said that the pandemic has affected these special category of children in society as their schools and rehabilitation centres are shut, affecting their health, psychology and social behaviour. 

“Being at home all times, has presented several challenges for the parents of children with Down Syndrome. Due to the fact that these children do not practice their daily life activities in an organised manner, limited outdoor activities may lead to behaviours such as hyperactivity, poor attention, stubbornness, not listening to the guidance of parents, etc,” she said.  

Such children may also suffer from some behavioural problems, she said, asserting, “It is necessary to have a specific time for children to go to bed early at night and wake up early. The possibility of setting a schedule that includes some exercise in the morning and the involvement of the rest of the family members will help these children cope better.”

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