Community Engagement a Feature of QBRI's Autism Awareness Month

HBKU’s QBRI Wraps Up Autism Awareness Activities

03 Jun 2024

A month of bridging understanding and building support for autism awareness

QBRI discuss Autism Awareness with schoolchildren

Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI) wrapped up Autism Awareness Month with a dedicated emphasis on community engagement and outreach across Qatar. Throughout April, QBRI reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to raising awareness and understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) through different types of activities. These included collaboration with state schools and Qatar Foundation (QF) entities to raise awareness among different age groups.

QBRI’s initiatives commenced with a collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and a visit to Abdullah Bin Turky Primary School, where research staff conducted an interactive educational session on ASD for students and teachers. The session introduced participants to the complexities of ASD and was followed by an interactive quiz designed to foster empathy and understanding among the students. The positive feedback from the school confirms the effectiveness of these initiatives in promoting understanding and inclusivity. Witnessing the students' genuine openness, compassion, and inclusivity was encouraging, emphasizing the essential role of education in nurturing a culture of acceptance and inclusivity.  Further sessions with state schools and other entities are planned for the future.

QBRI also participated in the "Celebrate Autism Awareness Day at Al-Shaqab.”  Co-organized  by Renad Academy and Al Shaqab, the event featured  a variety of community partners dedicated to ASD support services, as well as activities specifically designed to provide an inclusive and enriching experience for all attendees. QBRI’s booth attracted numerous families and professionals and provided opportunities to highlight its ongoing ASD research and supporting activities.

Further activities included  a seminar on disseminating knowledge and a social media campaign.  QBRI also  published an article around  the theme of this year's World Autism Awareness Month, "From Surviving to Thriving," emphasizing the importance of fostering Awareness, Acceptance, and Appreciation for neurominorities, including individuals ASD.

Dr. Omar Albagha, Acting Executive Director, QBRI, remarked: “Our Autism Awareness Month initiatives underscored the importance of collaborative efforts in raising awareness, fostering acceptance, and advancing research in ASD. By engaging with the community, educational institutions, and other stakeholders, QBRI remains steadfast in its commitment to making meaningful contributions towards enhancing the quality of life of individuals with autism and their families in Qatar and beyond.”

QBRI's dedication to promoting awareness and understanding of ASD mirrors its overarching goal of fostering impactful research and innovation to advance societal well-being. As the institution looks towards the future, it remains committed to its role as a catalyst for positive change in the field of autism research and advocacy.