Wed 17-05-2017 21:03 PM

Emirati researcher innovates enrichment programme to improve attention of autism patients

MANAMA, 17th May, 2017 (WAM) -- Sheikha Obaid Al Dosari Al Suwaidi, Emirati Researcher at the Arabian Gulf University, innovated an enrichment programme that aims to improve the attention of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

For her Master’s degree research at the Arabian Gulf University in Manama, Al Suwaidi proved, through her experiment, the programme’s value for improving the evaluation of visual attention for direction, transference and prolonged attention compared to traditional evaluation programmes, proving the effectiveness of the alternative enrichment programme in improving the visual attention of children with ASD.

Distracted attention and difficulty with visual communication are considered as symptoms of ASD, which scientists suggest is due to an imbalance in a group of genes. Latest international research has confirmed that one child out of 150 suffers from ASD.

The enrichment programme will target the age 4-12 years-old group, with the aim of improving the visual attention of children with ADS.

Al Suwaidi chose 11 willing children from the Abu Dhabi Centre for Autism, a subsidiary of the Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs, ZHO, and compared the improvement levels of their attention span by using various electronic enrichment programmes through smart mobile and tablet devices.

Al Suwaidi also clarified that each level contains several activities. The first level contains 11 activities where various pictures, drawings and colours are used as objects to stimulate the child.

The second level contains seven activities, with two images appearing on the screen for two objects. The child is asked to press, with one of his fingers, the picture of the moving object that appears in a specific place on the screen, and drag it to the picture of the immobile object that appears in another place on the screen in front of him every 12 seconds for 5 correct results within one minute, with the goal of prolonging their attention.

The third level for transferring attention has seven activities, with two images appearing consecutively on the screen. The child is asked to press the picture of the image with one of his fingers every time it appears, with the aim of transferring the child’s attention between two different objects.