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ByDebra J. Aguilar

Aug 16, 2022

JEDDAH: The two-day ‘Chromosome’ entertainment and training programme, welcoming 30 mentally handicapped children to help them integrate into society, has come to an end in Jeddah.

The event, aimed at children aged 4 to 18, offered classes in pottery and painting on canvas.

According to Kawakib Al-Najjar, the event coordinator, the activities, held at the Arty Café and organized by the “Volunteers for Them” team, aimed to empower participants to become independent and help them in the future.

“The kids’ interaction was wonderful, from touching the material to designing the pottery shapes that were chosen for them, knowing that it’s a skill that strengthens the muscles in their fingers and hands,” said Al -Najjar at Arab News.

She added that caring for people and children with mental disabilities can benefit them and society in general.

Discussions between the organizers and the parents of the children also took place within the framework of the program, in order to encourage families to teach their children trades that can improve their abilities and better integrate into society.

Al-Najjar stressed the importance of training and education for people with intellectual disabilities.

“All available psychological, social and behavioral (methods) should be considered to help these people overcome their difficulties and challenges,” she said, confirming that such courses can help reduce hyperactive behaviors and improve certain accompanying behaviors, such as absent-mindedness and impulsiveness.

“Previous experiments have revealed that teaching people with intellectual disabilities a certain occupation can provide an external stimulus that compensates children for their weak internal stimuli, which in turn leads to increased rates of their adaptation to society and improve their ability to communicate,” she explained.

She added that such techniques can increase the chances of these children getting a job and, therefore, provide them with a better, more independent and satisfying life.

Al-Najjar explained that the name of the event symbolizes that genes can cause disability.

Sharing statistics on people with different disabilities in Makkah region, the coordinator said that more than 7,860 people of both genders suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“Over 6,190 people in the region have Down syndrome, while over 173,400 are visually impaired and over 66,550 have hearing loss. Some 218,097 people have motor disabilities, while 7,735 were found to be autistic,” she said.