Throughout March, Special Olympics UAE is shining a light on healthcare for People of Determination with intellectual and developmental disabilities through a series of events and training sessions.
The Golisano Awards Ceremony will take place today at the Abu Dhabi Autism Center on March 21st. Hosted annually by Special Olympics UAE, the event recognizes health partners across the UAE for their efforts in providing Special Olympics athletes with compassionate healthcare services tailored to their specific needs. The Golisano Awards is Special Olympics international’s most prestigious recognition event for healthcare providers and professionals.
Earlier this month, Special Olympics UAE organized Train the Trainers sessions in City University Ajman on March 18 and 19, which brought 27 medical staff and experts from different countries including, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Egypt, the Philippines, Slovenia, and Lithuania, for training on becoming Clinical Directors to support Special Olympics’ Healthy Athletes program.
The first day included theoretical training, while the second day included practical training on conducting FunFitness sessions, which cover flexibility, functional strength, balance, and aerobic fitness, and Strong Minds sessions, which span emotional wellness, stress management, positive thinking and connecting with others. The Train the Trainers sessions coincided with several free health and dental checks for Special Olympics UAE athletes.
His Excellency Talal Al Hashemi, National Director of Special Olympics UAE, said: “Special Olympics UAE collaborates with all stakeholders across the UAE to serve People of Determination with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The health sector is at the forefront of our priorities because it’s the foundation of our work. We congratulate the winners of the Golisano Awards, as they set an example for compassionate healthcare in practice. We are also proud of all Train the Trainers Program’s participants and experts who share international best practice to enable us to continually optimise and improve health services offered to People of Determination with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the UAE.”
His Excellency Abdullah Abdul Ali Al Humaidan, Secretary-General of Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination said: “We are delighted that the Abu Dhabi Autism Centre has received the Golisano Award this year. This award is the most prestigious health accolade from Special Olympics International and is testament to our continued efforts to support People of Determination and their families in Abu Dhabi. Our mission is aligned with that of Special Olympics, and we aim to strengthen inclusion in our society. We are proud of our partnership with Special Olympics UAE and Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre. This partnership is anchored by a common purpose to build the capacities of People of Determination and contribute to the growth of the UAE’s inclusion movement and its overall development.”
His Excellency Matar Saeed Al Nuaimi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre, commented: “People of Determination are integral members of the community in the UAE. Our public health strategies are inclusive because this is our leadership’s directive, and also because we have an obligation to provide the highest possible quality of healthcare to all members of society. ADPHC is a strategic partner and contributor to Special Olympics UAE’s health programme and our partnership enables us to achieve progress faster, enriching the quality of lives for thousands of athletes and People of Determination who call Abu Dhabi home.”
Imran Khan, City University Ajman President said: “We are proud to be part of the Special Olympics UAE Train the Trainer Program, our participation stems from a solid belief in the value of inclusion and a desire to contribute to the support ecosystem for People of Determination with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The university believes in the importance of promoting healthier lifestyles and creating opportunities for all individuals to embrace them.”
Special Olympics UAE has previously secured the Special Olympics Healthy Communities Grant offered by Special Olympics International in 2021. Following this recognition, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, received a Special Olympics UAE delegation, commending the advances achieved towards inclusion of People of Determination in society.
Special Olympics UAE’s Train the Trainers program addresses various difficulties that caregivers may face while offering healthcare services to People of Determination and equips them with tested tools and methodologies. After completing the training program, participants and volunteers are certified by the Special Olympics MENA to become Clinical Directors.
The Healthy Communities program – which includes Train the Trainer and Healthy Athletes programs – is a collaboration between Special Olympics UAE and Golisano Foundation. The impact of Healthy Athletes on the health and wellness of Special Olympics athletes around the world is signiﬁcant. Since 2002, Clinical Directors trained as part of the program, discovered undetected health problems, alleviated pain, and provided health services to support a healthy lifestyle for more than two million athletes and caregivers across more than 130 countries around the world.