Dar Si Hmad for Development, Education and Culture is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 2010 promoting local culture and sustainable initiatives through education and the integration of scientific ingenuity in Southwest Morocco. We operate North Africa's largest fog harvesting project, providing villages with access to potable water. Our Water School and Girls' E-Learning Programs build capacity in the Anti-Atlas Mountains. Through our Ethnographic Field School, researchers and students engage with local communities in Agadir, Sidi Ifni, and the rural Aït Baamrane region for meaningful cross-cultural exchange.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Monthly Speakers Series - April 2013: Autism in Morocco

Dar Si Hmad decided to initiate a monthly speaker’s series, in the frame of its devotion to developing and spreading knowledge among communities. The session can be a presentation, workshop or a conference accompanied with Q&A sessions.

The first presentation took place on Wednesday April 10th at 3:00 PM in our office in Agadir, and we were proud to host Mr. Brendan Hart, a Ph.D candidate from Columbia University in New York.

Brendan presented on his current work on autism in Morocco, and many attendees from different backgrounds (professionals, university students, professors and staff),  were present to benefit from the valuable information Brendan have shared.
The presentation revolved around autism in general, from its discovery till the present. Brendan took us back to the time autism was discovered; how it was perceived and treated back then, and how the concept evolved from there, to include new cases all over the world and be handled differently from people’s original stance on autism.
In Morocco, Autism is becoming the point of convergence for many associations as well as the government, since people started recognizing the phenomenon and acknowledging its characteristics that can be illustrated by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior.
Morocco accounts for nearly 20 associations assisting families, and helping them find the right people to diagnose and train their autistic children. But still, the families bear all the costs for the recovery process.

The road is still long for Morocco to be ranked among the best nations to raise an autistic person in, as no official studies regarding the disorder have been done yet in the kingdom, and that support for families is still scarce. However, many prospective projects are still being discussed and may be implemented to further assist families and raise awareness towards Autism.