- Title: New Lebanon school gives hope to autistic children
- Date: 7th October 2019
- Summary: DBAYEH, LEBANON (RECENT) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF THERAPISTS AT "ONE TWO THREE AUTISM SCHOOL" PLAYING WITH CHILDREN AND CONDUCTING PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) CO-FOUNDER OF ONE, TWO, THREE AUTISM SCHOOL AND MOTHER AUTISTIC CHILD RICKY SARKIS, SARITTA TRAD, SAYING: "I had to travel abroad because of Ricky (her autistic child), he was diagnosed outside Lebanon in the U.S., I lived for three years and a half in the U.S. and then four more years in Kuwait, all of that was for Ricky, my life turned 360 degrees for him. When we decided as a family, specially his father who wanted him to come back to Lebanon in order for his children to live next to him, we came up with the project of creating a school with the same programme that Ricky was taking in the U.S. and in Kuwait, which is the ABA programme, Applied Behaviour Analysis." VARIOUS OF GROUP ACTIVITIES WITH THERAPISTS AND CHILDREN HANGING FLUFFY BALLS ON STICKY WALL (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LAWYER AND MOTHER OF AUTISTIC CHILD, RANIA SFEIR MAKHOUL, SAYING: "The child is subject to this therapy (ABA therapy) all day, let's say he's here seven or eight hours per day, he's taking for seven or eight hours this therapy which was quite impossible in Lebanon to provide." VARIOUS OF CHILD, SYLVIO MAKHOUL, WITH THERAPIST DOING EXERCISE AND EATING CHIPS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LAWYER AND MOTHER OF TWO, RANIA SFEIR MAKHOUL, SAYING: "The last accurate statistic says that there are around 40,000 autistic child, in Lebanon, let's say there are 30,000 (autistic child in Lebanon). What can we do? How many schools like 'One, Two, Three' do we need? The government has to do something, meanwhile we are all acting on an individual level." VARIOUS OF GROUP ACTIVITIES THERAPISTS AT SCHOOL CORRIDOR (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic and English) PROGRAMME DIRECTOR OF ONE, TWO, THREE AUTISM SCHOOL AND CONSULTING SPECIALIST AT THE NEW ENGLAND CENTRE FOR CHILDREN, NADINE KRIKORIAN, SAYING: "There are many autistic children who are staying home, because the schools are not accepting them and because they don't have the skills to be included. So they start here, we can consider it as a transition period. And of course during my ten years of work, I saw the progress that was happening, like as a first step a child cannot sit for more than five second in his chair. After that, after some years and some within the same year, some can sit, looking at the board, and at the teacher, while interacting with his friends. It's very important to prepare them from now, with skills that they need to enter the community and fit into society and into mainstream schools." VARIOUS OF THERAPISTS CARRYING OUT ACTIVITIES WITH CHILD VARIOUS OF THERAPIST DOING COLOUR AND SHAPE RECOGNITION EXERCISES WITH CHILD, RICKY DOOR WITH SIGN READING (English): "Sensory room" THERAPIST PLAYING WITH CHILD VARIOUS OF SYLVIO MAKHOUL CARRYING OUT ACTIVITY AND GIVING THERAPIST HIGH-FIVE
- Embargoed: 21st October 2019 13:28
- Keywords: Autistic children in Lebanon One Two Three Autism School Children with Disabilities Lebanon
- Location: DBAYEH, LEBANON
- City: DBAYEH, LEBANON
- Country: Lebanon
- Topics: Education,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA001B03K76D
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: For 10-year-old Ricky Sarkis' family, reuniting and returning to Lebanon meant first setting up a full-time school for autistic children like him.
The idea of the school, according to Ricky's mother Saritta Trad, emerged after many years of travelling around in search for the best environment for her autistic child.
"I lived three years and a half in the U.S. and then four more years in Kuwait, all of that was for Ricky," she explained.
But it was time for the family to reunite. So Trad and Ricky's father, Bachir Sarkis, founded One Two Three Autism School in Lebanon, applying the same programme that Ricky learned at schools abroad.
The programme, using Applied Behaviour Analysis, is designed to help autistic children and others with special needs. Every child has his own individualised educational programme, including diet as well as identifying points of strength and weakness.
Set north of Beirut in Dbayeh, founders say the school is the first of its kind in Lebanon with full-time educational programme providing a safe and controlled environment for autistic children to grow and develop their skills.
Enrolled children also receive Occupational Therapy (OT) and Speech and Language Therapy (SLP).
The school, which was opened last month, currently receives six children, with plans to accommodate more in the future.
The news was well received by parents with autistic children in Lebanon, among those is Rania Sfeir Makhoul, a lawyer and mother of two.
Her son, Sylvio, frequents the school and Makhoul heads a non-governmental organisation preparing a draft law to the Lebanese parliament to provide basic rights for autistic children in the country.
Programme director Nadine Krikorian explains that many autistic children stay home because schools do not accept them and they can't be included.
(Production: Imad Creidi, Yara Abi Nader)
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