After taking a quick look over her achievements, it's obvious that Dr. Fatma Al Awadhi is an exceptional individual. As a Consultant Developmental Pediatrician, she has contributed a lot to the community in Kuwait. With experience from Kuwait, London, Scotland and the United States, Dr. Al Awadhi is one of the few doctors in Kuwait specialized for children with special needs. With her own clinic, Fatma Clinic, she was able to provide all treatments needed for the children under her care. We had the pleasure to get to know more about Dr. Fatma's achievements and what she has planned to develop special needs programs in Kuwait.
Tell us more about yourself…
I am a Consultant Developmental Pediatrician, in other words a medical doctor that is specialized in diagnosing and treating children with special needs. I own a clinic providing my field; Fatma Clinic. I offer what I have gained among my studies and career life to the children and parents of these children. I have gained my experiences from Kuwait, London, Scotland and the United States of America seeking what is best available to learn and imply in my field to the children.
What do you think was carried out successfully because of your efforts?
Improvement of the services offered to diagnose and manage children with special needs. I have also helped in spreading awareness about identifying and dealing with kids that have any type of delay or disorder. In addition to empowering the kids and their families lives by providing reasons, knowledge and hope in order to obtain maximum progress.
What do you wish to achieve in 2-5 year’s time?
I wish to expand what I provide for special needs, and work hard with other specialists not only to improve the quality of lives of kids with special needs and help them reach their potentials, but really help supporting them and their disorder.
What made you decide on specializing in treating children with special needs?
The lack of specialists available with this specialty in Kuwait. Furthermore, lack of knowledge, awareness, and support for children with special needs in Kuwait was greater at that time. This challenged me to take a step further in what the community needs and shall benefit vastly from.
What are the cases you are specialized in treating?
The children I consult, and assess vary among children with ADD/ADHD, dyslexia and other learning disorders, autism, and children with syndromes causing disabilities like Down syndrome.
Since you are one of the few medical doctors in Kuwait specialized for children with special needs, what developments do you wish to see in the future?
More team work including all the specialists working with children with special needs and improving the services to provide their needs. As well as more community acceptance and support to encourage families. Also, the increase in community services for adolescents and adults with special needs is needed.
What are the main difficulties you face in your job?
Initially informing the parents of the children about their diagnosis. Parents need a lot of support from everybody to help them overcome their fears and empower them to help their child with their best potential.
Tell us more about the training programs held in your clinic…
I provide one-on-one training programs that enables a child to train his brain, concerning motor control, attention, auditory and visual processing, and memory. Cognitive trainings are very effective for children with learning disorders. We also provide behavior and other training programs for children with autism spectrum disorder. Any training needs to be intensive and continuous for optimum results and the sooner started the better the results.
What are the treatments available for the kids with special needs?
There is no one treatment for any given case. Medication is provided for specific purposes. The treatment is a team work of different specialists needs specifically for each child like the developmental pediatrician, psychologist, speech therapist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, nutritionist, teachers and parents.
What sort of awareness do you wish to spread amongst Kuwaitis regarding kids with special needs?
The earlier the parents come to realization that there is a problem that needs professional help, the better the outcome.
Denial from parents needs to be demolished. The younger the child is consulted and assessed, the earlier the results are put into consideration. This gives the child a brighter future with all the knowledge and wide variety of possible help available to make the child brighter, and more capable of communicating and interacting with others.
On the other hand children with special needs may use different mental, physical, or communication skills, and the society needs to get more awareness of how to collide and interact with children that may have these difficulties.
For more information about Dr. Fatma's clinic visit www.fatmaclinic.com
– Fajer Al-Farsi
Images courtesy of Dr. Fatma Al-Awadhi