Vice President Faisal Naseem has launched the handbook for guiding and educating children on the autism spectrum. The launching ceremony was held this morning at the Autism Association of the Maldives. The Minister of Education, Dr Aishath Ali, and other relevant parties were in attendance of the ceremony.

Speaking during the ceremony, the Vice President stressed on the significance President Ibrahim Solih places on education, indicating that the government's goal is to facilitate more inclusive education. Shedding light on some of the work done in this regard, he stated that the government had recently introduced nationwide scholarship opportunities in speech therapy and occupational therapy. He urged interested candidates to take advantage of such opportunities and to dedicate their time to helping bridge the educational gap for youngsters who require supplementary guidance and support.

Furthermore, Vice President Faisal Naseem discussed the ongoing work of instigating a child development centre in Hulhumalé Hospital, noting that the centre’s goal is to offer critical services and treatment programmes for children in need. Speaking regarding the handbook launched today, the Vice President stated this handbook would prove especially useful for parents raising children who are on the autism spectrum. He commended the association for their noteworthy work in assembling the book, reiterating the government's commitment to enabling inclusive and unbiased education for all children on all inhabited islands of the Maldives.

The handbook's major goal is to acquaint and raise awareness among educators, such as parents and teachers, on how best to guide and educate children on the autism spectrum. The Autism Association's handbook was created based on observations and data collected from autistic children seeking the support of the association. The book includes information on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in Dhivehi, as well as tips on therapeutic strategies and soothing processes. The book further includes behavioural modification tactics and assistance manoeuvres in monitoring and skills development for autistic children.

The book will be made available online for free starting today.

Following launching ceremony, the Vice President toured the Autism Centre grounds and visited the therapy classes in session at the Centre.