Autism is the fastest growing neurodevelopmental disorder, it affects 1 in 68 children and is on the rise and even though science keeps developing every day, yet the majority of the people are absolutely unaware of the disorder and how its cases shall be treated.
The faculty of Biotechnology never seizes to take the opportunity to shine light on important matter that leave an impact on society. Based on that, under the lead of Miss Aicha Massrali, PhD student, Molecular Genetics, Cairo University as well as Eslam Elghonaimy, PhD candidate, Cancer Biology, Cairo University and along with the two assistant lecturers of the faculty Shaza Ahmed and Heba Hesham collaborated with the SU to promote the cause.
Bunch of students in the faculty, thrived using various means to pull off an Autism awareness event under the theme of “Autism Enigma – Can “U” be the missing piece of the p_zzle?” which was counted to be one of the greatest events witnessed by the attendants of the university themselves.
The aim was to raise awareness, promote for autism advocacy and acceptance and the importance of integration and inclusion of students with autism in our community.
The event started by “Understanding the enigma” a brief presentation by Aicha Massrali. Followed by many informative sessions that included external guests such as Enas El Shawaf, who is a parent of a child with Autism who succeeded to attend and finish high school and is currently enrolled at the MSA University. Dahlia Soliman, the founder and head of the Egyptian Autistic Society who spoke about Autism inclusion in Universities and schools. Dr. Mohamed Hennawy, Executive Training Director at Egyptian Advance Society, who spoke about Autism inclusion criteria and implementation in Egypt and finally, Prof. Dr. Ehab Ragaa, Professor of Neurological Diseases in children, who focused on how Autism can be diagnosed and the possible causes.
There were also several activities that creatively allowed the inclusion of the attendees and gave them the chance to be a part of the autistic puzzle. The most effective activity was “Experience Autism” as a booth was made where a person would enter and watch a video with noise canceling headphones and experience the visual and hearing effects from the view of a person with autism. This allowed the spectator to understand the suffering from episodes of stimulation of sensory overload that autistics face. Other activities included “the beauty of the autistic mind” which was showcasing the incredible talents of people with autism in Egypt and the world and finally, “Make a Difference” where the attendees signed the petition for the inclusion of people with autism at MSA University which is a step that is hoped to be taken soon.
Not forgetting to acknowledge the massive efforts that were put from all of those who participated in making this event happen; giving special thanks to the students, Andrew Wahba and Ashraqat Shams who held the main organizing, Alaa Al-Nomrosi who was in charge of the video editing and photography, Nancy Kareem and Kamal Al-dohy for the theme decorations, Hana Mahmoud, Mohamed Salah, Mena Yasser, designers and finally Ahmed El-Basha and Houida Samir for their creative inputs.