DUBAI(DMI) July 15, 2020 :The Ministry of Community Development has launched the initiative “Rest assured” to support people of determination, parents and staff, educate the community members about comprehensive response of the people of determination in the current circumstances in order to achieve a safe and fast response to the social reality changes and conditions.
Excellency Nasser Ismail, Assistant Undersecretary for Social Welfare at the Ministry of Community Development, emphasized that the initiative “Rest assured” reflects the directives of the UAE wise leadership to disseminate peace and positivity among Emiratis and residents during the current crisis, pointing out that the people of determination are highly appreciated by the UAE government. As such, the initiative promotes and achieves support for the people of determination especially in different circumstances and assures the quality of their needs depending on their types of disabilities.
He said: “The “Rest assured” initiative consists of 5 core programs with multiple objectives and methods to respond to the demands of the people of determination, parents and staff, and raise the community awareness of the pandemic, taking into account the needs of the people of determination, enabling all concerned categories to communicate, interact and take the initiative to provide the best for people of determination wherever they are, based on national, community and development responsibility and maintaining the people of determination in an interactive and supportive environment.
Core Program One:
Wafa Hamad Bin Sulaiman, Director of Welfare & Rehabilitation Department for People of Determination, explained that core program one of the initiative “Rest assured” provides a “home psychological aid kit to support people of determination during crisis; the initiative introduces the community to the effects of crisis on children of determination who have different disabilities, understanding the causes of non-adaptive behavior that appears among children during home quarantine, and thus providing a comprehensive vision of intervention and treatment according to each individual case.
She stressed that this program contains a set of diagnostic features that characterize children affected by difficult circumstances, helps parents and family members detect them, thereby identify children who need therapeutic intervention either by parents or specialists, as well as a range of activities and exercises that can be practiced in the child’s environment to help him overcome these challenges.
The Director of Welfare & Rehabilitation Department for People of Determination, noted that the psychiatric aid bag is a response to the psychological changes’ children are going through in crisis whatever they are but can be adapted to any pressures that the people of determination may face during any crisis, natural or health disasters and sudden changes that can affect children’s lives, to help them rebalance their lives and adapt to emergency situations.
Core Program Two:
The core program two of the initiative has been dedicated to support children with intellectual disabilities and autism during the pandemic by launching a series of social stories to support them during emergencies, crises and home quarantine. The stories deliver information to children through using simple visual stories and directs them to the correct preventive behaviors such as cleanliness and risk management. Additionally, it contains simple visual answers to many questions that address children’s imaginations, which, if not clarified on time, may lead to distorted and inaccurate concepts of the pandemic. These stories therefore represent an opportunity for the people of determination to raise their awareness of the pandemic and integrate them into the educational and behavioral concepts associated with it.
Core Program Three:
Wafa Bin Sulaiman added that core program three is a training program for staff who are working with the people of determination families to educate them and raise their awareness on how to reduce the psychological pressures they face during crisis and home quarantine noting that when students of determination stay home for long time they tend to act with some non-adaptive behaviors such as boredom, aggressiveness, lack of time management and excessive movement or isolation. The goal of the training program is to enable the psychological and social staff who are working the people of determination on how to detect these behaviors through specific measures and address questions for parents and guide them to observe their children’s behaviors at home then direct them to the right advices and guidelines how to deal with children at the times of home quarantine or crisis in general.
Core Program Four:
She added that parents share this initiative through psychological support provided for them; the program helps them alleviate the pressures they face and train them on how to deal optimally with the challenges facing their children during the quarantine; mothers who play an important role in providing care and rehabilitation to their children need psychological comfort and stability and this is reflected in the skills provided to their children at home. The program specifically supports parents in order to raise the level of psychological resilience in facing the pandemic and ability to provide appropriate support to their children during home quarantine.
Wafa Hamad bin Sulaiman emphasized the importance of this training program because it helps mothers to reduce pressures on their children during home quarantine; this was revealed in the results of the ministry’s study stating that mothers face challenges with their children of determination at their daily routine during home quarantine, their children showed a range of non-adaptive behaviors which were very stressful for the mother and family in general.
At the beginning of the program, specialists will assess the level of stress experienced by mothers through specially designed measurement tools, and after extracting the results from all mothers, a training orientation program will be offered to mothers who have shown high levels of stress, help them reduce their stress and adapt with the children’s home quarantine. The program showcases how to reduce stress, manage time, how to deal with children’s behaviors adequately, how to spend time in useful things, in addition to relaxation exercises, breathing, meditation, psychological and emotional discharge.
In support of the families of students of determination during home quarantine, Wafa Bin Sulaiman explained that the Ministry has prepared a home-schooling guide for students with intellectual disabilities and autism, as well as a range of educational and academic goals as well as steps for parents to follow up their children during home quarantine. The guide encourages continuous education for students at their homes by involving parents and family members being active members of the education process with the follow up of specialists in the Welfare and Rehabilitation Department for People of Determination; both will determine the appropriate objectives for each child individually and the mechanisms for achieving them.
Wafa Bin Sulaiman said: “The guide was prepared in a simplified way as well as specific and clear steps in accordance with applied analysis behavior that are adopted globally. Our purpose is to give simple and smooth steps that parents can follow in order to achieve the desired educational results. The most important skills contained in the guide are namely the skills of developing children’s attention, regular education, cognitive skills development, large and small motor skills, sensory development skills, behavioral skills, social skills, self-management skills and good behavior”.
Core Program Five
The fifth and final part of the “Rest assured” initiative is a series of community awareness programs, addressed to people of determination and their parents and the community at large about emergency cases especially the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people of determination and the ways of support provided to them in times of crisis. The Ministry of Community Development has already worked on this awareness program since the beginning of the pandemic and disseminated a lot of awareness information and advices on how to deal with people of determination and train them on coexisting with the pandemic, methods of sterilization according to each disability, and the forms of information that are available to them in sign language for the deaf categories, instant text translation, voice description for blind categories or simplified methods through social stories for intellectual disabilities and autism categories.