12 specialists in Applied Behavior Analysis graduated from the Centre for Autism Research of King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre (KFSH&RC) who represent the first class, after they finished an advanced program regarding curing children suffering from Autism spectrum disorder. This program lasted for two years in collaboration with the US University of Nevada, Reno.
His Excellency Dr. Qasim Al-Qasabi, Chief Executive Officer of the General Organization of King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre stated that the scientific studies proved that applied behavior analysis is one of the most successful ways to teach and train children of different ages who are suffering from Autism spectrum disorders, other behavioral disorders, or growth disorders.
Dr. Al Qasabi clarified in his speech in the graduation ceremony that due to rarity of specialists qualified in this area in the Kingdom, the Center for Autism Research of the KFSH&RC decided in 2014 to develop the applied behavior analysis program in partnership with University of Nevada, Reno in order to qualify specialists in this field.
“Employees responsible for the Centre for Autism Research, since its foundation in 2010, are seeking to conduct research in several fields of autism spectrum disorders in order to develop and improve diagnostic and therapeutic methods for persons suffering from this disorder in collaboration with international, regional, and local centers. Also, they are seeking to train specialists who are qualified in the latest methods in diagnosing and curing persons suffering from autism disorder so that to make the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia self – sufficient in the diagnosis and treatment fields of autism” Dr. Al Qasabi added.
Dr. Al Qasabi expressed his deep thanks and appreciation to the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), describing that it was and still has the precedence in knowing the needs of Saudi citizen, stemming from its feeling of social responsibility, adding that SABIC continued in supporting Center for Autism Research since its foundation in 2010 AD and until today. Dr. Al Qasabi appreciated that the University of Nevada, Reno selected Center for Autism Research in KFSH&RC to be the first center in teaching this integrated vital program in the Middle East.
Dr. Hisham Al Dhalaan, Center for Autism Research Director & Pediatric Neurologist in KFSH&RC, in his turn, stated that autism is considered a health, educational, and social issue and represents an economic challenge facing the Saudi society, referring that the estimates state that there are around 125000 – 250000 children suffering from autism in the Kingdom. Dr. Al Dhalaan explained that according to these statistics, there are about 250000 Saudi family suffering from this disorder and its effect to all family members, their life and future, and not to the child only.
Dr. Hisham paid attention that the Center for Autism Research delivered more than five thousand hours of consulting for families, who have children suffering from autism, in addition to providing more than 150 workshops that benefited more than ten thousand families and specialists in this field. Dr. Hisham mentioned that Center for Autism Research presented more than 20 research related to autism spectrum disorder, which are published in international and local medical journals.
Khalid Mohammed Al-Sufayan, Director, Internatinal Events & Corporate Relations in SABIC praised in his speech in this occasion the Center for Autism Research and the quality of services rendered to the patients suffering from autism, in addition to the development of employees and researchers through training and methodological programs that clearly contributed to the creation of an incubator with high standards to increase the efficiency of human resources specialized in this field and make a quantum leap in the field of autism research in the Kingdom and region in general, expressing the pride of SABIC that this project is one of its programs in social responsibility based on high standards in measuring the effect and its sustainability.