Feb 16, 2021

The Early Intervention Center of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services launched an early prevention initiative aiming to provide early detection and screening service for children in early childhood by identifying children at risk of being developmentally late at an early stage. In addition to providing the appropriate service as soon as possible to reduce the aggravation of delays and increase families' awareness of risk indicators and spread community awareness of the importance of preventive measures in early childhood. It would establish a research base and resources based on evidence and practical evidence within the field.

Mr. Mohamed Fawzi, Director of the Center, has emphasized the importance of the initiative by giving attention to children in early childhood stage, based on studies that state that 1 out of 6 children has developmental delays, learning difficulties, or emotional behavioral problems.  The center detect and provide appropriate services to 20% or 30% of these children before they join school in early childhood.

He explained the precedence of the early intervention center in implementing the screening and early detection program in the Emirate of Sharjah and at the state level, starting from 2006. This stipulated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 2000. “The interest of the child is above all considerations and has priority and preference in all circumstances”. This enables the child to have a happy childhood in which he enjoys protection from all sides. He would enjoy the rights that guarantee him a happy life, for his good and for the good of society.  These rights include the child's right to survival, development and growth fully, protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation, and full participation in the family, and in cultural and social life.

Fawzi said, “In line with the city's leadership and the desired goals of early intervention, starting from primary prevention, which seeks to reduce the causes of disability, to the second prevention, which is the provision of early intervention services and ending with the third (future) prevention, which aims to limit the aggravation of the effects of delay in the future.  The center provided a comprehensive survey and early detection service, including a developmental, a visual, and an audio examinations, which are the most comprehensive and first of its kind in the region.

The first phase: In the training year 2014/2015 - 2015/2016

A new age group (3 months to 9 months and 10 days) was included as a preliminary stage to implement the program on children in early childhood, using questionnaires of ages and stages and confirming their suitability for use. The aim was to start reaching children at a very early age.  The center carried out this stage in cooperation with the Motherhood and Childhood Centers and the University Hospital in Sharjah. With the continuation of providing early detection services for the kindergarten stage (Kindergarten 1 / Kindergarten 2 within the program that the center had started in the developmental survey since 2006.

As for the second phase, it was in the training year 2016/2017 - 2017/2018

In this phase, the application of the survey and early detection program was based on the age group (one month to 5 and half years) in early childhood, using the new high-accuracy and credible survey tool, which are questionnaires of ages and stages-3.

The director of the center emphasized that the initiative that targeted children in early childhood stage had met an unexpected turnout. It started with the Motherhood and Childhood Center and pediatric clinics at the University Hospital in Sharjah and private nurseries. It included governmental nurseries of the Sharjah Education Council and the Suburban Councils of the Emirate of Sharjah and the (Tala) nurseries of the Sharjah Ladies Club branch administration. As well as the Children's Social Care Department and the Aman House Affiliated of the Department of Social Services, and the Sharjah Social Empowerment Foundation in the Emirate of Sharjah through the initiative (Weyakum).  In addition to the internal survey service at the center for those who wish.

This service is provided free of charge to all members of society who wish, and the statistics of the survey conducted by the center from 2006 until 2020 were (7012) children in (109) schools, kindergartens and nurseries.

In line with recent health developments and precautionary measures to ensure the continuity of services access and proceed in early detection of problems that may face the growth of children, the center launched a new initiative, which is 'Make sure your child is safe'. It aims to reach children anywhere so that through the guardian, the electronic form is filled out, which reaches the center's specialists, who in turn will communicate with the family to provide the necessary support and services as soon as possible.  The procedures are simple, scan the barcode of the initiative so that you can go to the website, fill in the data, and test items.  In addition to granting rapid access to children at risk of being developmentally late, and providing appropriate services in accordance with the highest and best contemporary practices in the field, the initiative will contribute to increasing family awareness of risk indicators and spreading community awareness of the importance of preventive measures. The initiative would establish a scientific base of resources for developing services based on practical evidence.