Dubai: A mother’s experience with her daughter who suffers from a rare genetic disorder, has led her to open a new facility in Dubai, which offers a variety of therapies for people of determination under one roof.
Lynn Jafar, a Lebanese resident of Dubai, founder and ‘Managing Mum’ of High Hopes Paediatric Therapy Centre in Jumeirah, Dubai.
“I got the idea to open this facility because of my special needs child. She requires all types of therapy everyday, and while I used to go from one therapist to another trying to find the right intervention to help her, I finally thought of starting a centre than can offer all those services — following an interdisciplinary approach, under one roof,” Jafar told Gulf News.
High Hopes opened its doors to the public in November 2017, and was inaugurated by Princess Haya Bint Al Hussain, wife of Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The centre offers children of determination a range of therapies including, vision therapy, oral motor and feeding therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.
“The centre aims to optimise independence — our team of therapists work together with each family and child and sets goals that are reviewed continuously. They work on everything from teaching the children to walk, to feeding themselves, to improving their fine motor skills while helping improve their functional vision,” explained Jafar.
She pointed out that once a week, all schedules are cleared out for assessments. Parents and their children with special needs interested in joining the centre are required to have a two- to three-hour meeting with the team of therapists.
“Our qualified team assesses the child and through a unique interdisciplinary process, creates an integrated report including clinical observations, recommendations and goals. This tailored programme of care includes the suggested schedule of therapies and targeted intervention strategies with sensitivity to the family’s availability and goals. ” said Jafar.
Describing High Hopes as “a rehab centre,” designed to cater to all the needs of children with determination, Jafar said all the facilities from the playground, and pool, to the therapy rooms have been set up to make the children feel at home.
Currently around 20 children attend the centre for a variety of therapy sessions, ranging from babies who are a few months old to 14-year-olds.
The centre is fully equipped with machines and a pool designed for physio-therapy, a sensory room, and devices to help children who are verbal and non-verbal, communicate through pictures, movements and even eye gaze. Therapists are able to easily communicate and assist one another during sessions, depending on a child’s case and condition, and regularly meet to discuss their patients’ future goals and approaches, said Jafar.
She highlighted the one common challenge they face at the centre is educating families about services that can benefit their children.
“What we want to achieve through this centre is to create a facility in Dubai that makes it a solution for people in the region. By providing these world-class specialised services in Dubai, people don’t have to travel across the globe to find them,” said Jafar.
Referring to Dubai’s vision of making the city disability-friendly by 2020, Jafar pointed out that as a mother of a special-needs child, she is already feeling the change when it comes to accessibility and acceptance.