Serving our Special Needs Community in Dubai
Sensation Station opened its doors to the local community inviting families to attend the family open day on Saturday 16th April 2016, to jointly celebrate the centre’s first anniversary and expansion. The event was a great success, which proves the demand in the need for quality therapy services in the community. With the help of generous sponsors, supporters, volunteers and especially Dubai Superheroes Iron Man, Batman and Robin putting priceless smiles on the children’s faces, we were certainly able to make the open day one to remember.
Amongst the many supporters at our Open Day, we were happy to have the presence of Zayed University with their Eye-Tracking Technology Research to detect early signs of Autism. We hope to work with other members of the community in the future as part of our commitment to raising awareness of growing needs.
The centre was inspired by an Emirati family and a mother that has experienced the tribulations and joys of raising a child with developmental challenges and needed quality therapy services here in the UAE.
It was established in May 2014 and officially launched in January 2015. The launch of Sensation Station was essentially to benefit professionals and parents by providing a FREE conference, titled: “Breaking Down The Spectrum, Inspirational Modern Approaches To Autism Spectrum Disorder”, which was held at Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate and under the patronage of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
Sensation Station is a multi-disciplinary private therapy centre for children with special needs, developmental delays and/or learning difficulties, providing quality Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Multi-Sensory Therapy, DIR Floortime/ Play Therapy, Therapeutic Recreation, Early Intervention programmes, Therapy-based Blended Learning (iCademy Middle East) and many other services for children and their families.
The vision is to help as many families as possible and Sensation Station offered FREE “Ask-the-Expert” private 1:1 sessions for parents to consult with a qualified therapist during the Open Day. The aim is to help raise awareness amongst the community as well as host local and international specialists by sharing their knowledge with the public.
Future plans of Sensation Station includes expanding services with the special needs community and striving towards Sheikh Mohammed’s vision of making the city of Dubai, a city for everyone, transforming Dubai to a disability-friendly city by the year 2020, or hopefully even sooner than that.
Therapy is a very important part of a child’s learning and development but Sensation Station also understands the urgent need for adequate learning services and support. Hence, another initiative to support the community is collaboration with iCademy Middle East which is an internationally accredited and recognized blended learning programme. Therefore, children can receive therapeutic support and learn academic subjects at their own pace all under one roof.
“Our aim is to close the gap for families that are facing difficulties finding a suitable school environment for their child with needs. Every child deserves the right to learn and receive a certificate regardless of their additional challenges,” says Francesca Rodgers-Jafarian, Centre Manager of Sensation Station.
Sensation Station also provides 1:1 therapy services to schools and nurseries in Dubai, so that children attending mainstream schools can receive therapy in a familiar setting of their own nursery or school.
Francesca Rodgers-Jafarian states: “Since working with Sensation Station, I have realised that this is a heart-felt organisation that is not just thinking from a business perspective. In fact, the business perspective is there simply to secure sustainability of the services provided. I myself am a parent of a son with Autism and recently discovered that I am expecting another baby, this time with a diagnosis of Down Syndrome. It is even more evident and apparent that parents like myself need to have access to more services, support and as much choice as possible.”
Sensation Station collaborates with other centres and disciplines to provide the best possible choices for parents, and most of all we try our utmost to avoid children having to be kept on a waiting-list to receive the much needed therapy. After all, early intervention is the key to a more successful development. This is also evident in the efforts undertaken by Nisha Mistry, Medical Director, Head of Therapy Department and Speech-Language Therapist at Sensation Station, who organises the quarterly meetings of Dubai’s Speech-Language Therapists to exchange and share knowledge and network with industry related practitioners and professionals.
“Sensation Station is an amazing centre which strives to continuously improve and develop, with the children at the heart of every decision. I am proud to be a part of this team, where quality will always be of the utmost importance; it is my vision that Sensation Station will be the benchmark for high quality therapy services in the UAE” Nisha Mistry, Medical Director Sensation Station.
Sensation Station provides free information in their monthly newsletter and at their coffee mornings, which are open for all to attend. Guest speakers are invited each month to address a topic that is educational or informative to all parents.
“We like to provide a platform for parents to casually network, have a friendly chat and support each over a cup of coffee, share a few tears and hopefully lots of laughter too. Hence, we welcome companies that have expressed to support these wonderful parents. Such generosity has been shown by pampering them a little with a token of appreciation in terms of presenting Gift Vouchers or other little treats – Sometimes a little can go a long way!” said Eva Carola Muths, Head of Marketing and Public Relations at Sensation Station.