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Robotic workshop for people with special needs

Shrisudha Viswanathan
Shrisudha Viswanathan

The first workshop on robotics for people with special needs, especially neurodiverse students, will be organised on Saturday, May 28, in Muscat. The event is aimed at giving a boost to specially-abled children's rehabilitation.

The workshop, an international collaboration between Oman Down Syndrome Association, Edutech4Space in Dubai and Prakramika Vocational Institute from India, supported by Eshraqa Khimji Ramdas, is an approved project based on the materials and instructions developed by NASA's neurodiversity network (N3).

Speaking to the Observer, Nailesh Khimji, Director, Khimji Ramdas Group, said by supporting the Oman Down Syndrome Association in this first-of-its-kind Robotics workshop, the group aims to bring a smile to the faces of those children and their families.

"At Eshraqa, we strongly believe in supporting charitable organisations, especially those related to children and education. We are honoured to be associated with Oman Down Syndrome Association's Robotics workshop. We wish them continued success and progress in achieving their goals. We greatly appreciate the hard work and support provided by their partners at Prakramika Vocational Institute and Edutech4Space, Dubai, in organising this event," Nailesh Khimji added.

With an introduction to space science and technology, the robotics workshop is expected to make the down syndrome and other neurodiverse children successful and help them lead a dignified life with their counterparts.

"As humans, we all have innate potential and talent that we constantly develop, which is true for the neurodiverse community. As a society, we need to give them the right opportunities to explore and excel in their innate talents," said Dr Gayatri Narasimhan, Founder and Director of Prakramika Vocational Institute, India.

The Sultanate of Oman has a total number of 1,117 people with down syndrome, out of which 638 are males and 479 females. They are covered under programmes and services provided by the Ministry of Social Development's rehabilitation centres and private civil societies. These people with various skills will be benefited with this robotics workshop for their inclusion in the workplace, according to Ahmed bin Mohammed al Jabri, Chairman of the Oman Down Syndrome Association.

Children with Down syndrome will learn new skills through this hands-on experience. They will further enhance their readiness for inclusion at all levels.

"By introducing this workshop based on NASA's programme and curriculum for neurodiverse learners, we create an inclusive STEM environment. This workshop is specifically designed to nurture the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills in the neurodiverse community so that students of all abilities can be successful," adds Shrisudha Viswanathan, Scientist, Ex-ISRO, Founder and CEO, Edutech4Space.


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