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AUS exhibits art by autistic children
American University of Sharjah (AUS) in collaboration with the Sharjah Autism Center (SAC) held an exhibition of artwork created by the center's children April 15-16 at the university's Student Center.
Held for the first time at AUS, the exhibition was organized by the Community Services Division of the university's Office of Student Affairs and was designed to increase the community's awareness about autism.
"The exhibition is aimed at enlightening students and the public about various aspects of autism, especially highlighting the positive and bright side of those having autism, such as distinguished innovative talents. Do you know that 10 percent of those with autism have innovative potential that can be developed, and deserve to be highlighted and receive due attention?" asked Mona Bagh, the center's manager. She noted the importance of supporting such innovative talents, as failure to do might suppress an important talent that may add success and distinction not only to the student, but also to the family and society.
During the event, the children had a chance to display their skills, their creative abilities and their interests. Some of their artworks were displayed around the Student Center's lobby. Ten of the 34 children attending SAC were at the event to interact with exhibition visitors.
"The message of this exhibition is to highlight the beauty of these talents and to emphasize the importance of developing autism talents as one of the basic human rights of the autism student and the family," Bagh said.
The Sharjah Autism Center officials expressed the center's gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qassimi, Supreme Council Member, Ruler of Sharjah and President of American University of Sharjah, for his generous support of the Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services and its students and activities, including students with autism. They also expressed their thanks to Sheikha Jamilah Bint Mohammad Al Qassimi, Director General of the Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, for her support for the Sharjah Autism Center. The center also thanked AUS for supporting their activities and strengthening cooperation with the center.
According to SAC, autism is a developmental disorder of neuro-biological origin that begins in early childhood and it occurs in all parts of the world, affecting all ethnic groups and all socioeconomic levels. Recent studies indicate that phantom autism occurs at a ratio of 1 in every 150 children. Even though there is no known cure for autism, some researchers suggest that the best therapy is intensive early intervention, focusing on communication and presenting children with role models to further promote their development.
Dr. Moza Al Shehhi, AUS Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, said that AUS hosted the exhibition as per the Agreement of Cooperation between the university and the Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services. "AUS is keenly interested in providing all possible support to those with autism and to encourage volunteer students to help humanitarian institutions," she said. Dr. Al Shehhi emphasized the vital role this exhibition played in highlighting the talents of those with autism and creating awareness among AUS students.