In 1981, SESOBEL established the early intervention program for children ages 1 – 5 years old with any kind of disability, including autism.
In 1989, SESOBEL created the first specialized program for children and youth with autism.
The present SESOBEL Autism Center hosts around 75 children and youth with autism.
Today, this center can no longer accommodate the growing needs of SESOBEL’s children and youth with autism, thus the need to build a new center.
The present SESOBEL building, which includes the current autism centre, can no longer accommodate our growing needs. The building's maximum capacity limit has been reached. The classrooms are often too small and non-functional: lack of space for naps, inadequate soundproofing system, and no easy access for the children and youth with limited mobility. The younger children have their meals in the classrooms, they have no garden or playground that would contribute to their well-being and development.
Due to this lack of space, there is an inability to conduct new programs, even though new needs have emerged. These needs pertain especially to the youth with autism, for whom it is important to provide assistance with their transition to adult life.
SESOBEL is currently in the process of completing the construction of this new center on an adjacent piece of land
With this new Autism Center, SESOBEL is taking a large leap forward towards the future. The center will be completely adapted to provide the necessary setting needed for the harmonious development of the children and youth with autism. The spacious classrooms, workshops, treatment and rehabilitation rooms, game room, resting area, all allow for a special integration of functionality unseen in other school settings.
A residential care center.
A completely furnished pioneer living space, with private bedrooms and bathrooms, is needed to receive on a rotation basic, 15 youngsters with autism,in the afternoons and during the night in an adapted and secured environment.
This space would reflect a real home environment where the youth with autism will share living spaces; such as dining room, TV room, and other common areas, while each one will have his/her own bedroom with bathroom: This way, we will create a family like structure, with emphasis on human interactions, that will be different from the schools and the center of support and socialization (dedicated to learning and maintenance of skills). By providing a distinction in their activities, youth with autism will develop a better understanding of their spatial environment.
It is also necessary to have a day center that would receive youth with autism over the age of 20, who do not have the capabilities to work in sheltered workshops. Such facilities are currently missing in the country. Indeed, nothing is planned in Lebanon to receive youth with autism over the age of 20.
The building will also include several units and programs for the children and youth with autism:
A family reception for 220 families
An early intervention center
for 50 children from 0 to 6 years old
An education center
for 40 children and youth with autism
for 100 children and youth
Outpatient care program
Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy,
Psychomotor Therapy, Physiotherapy and Psychotherapy
A daytime center
for support and socialization, and social integration for 30 young adults.
A recreational area
for the children and their families
A hydrotherapy unit
for children with autism that will also be used by around 200 children and youth with disabilities at SESOBEL. This hydrotherapy unit will also benefit outpatients and will therefore be a source of self-financing.
The hydrotherapy unit opened its door since September 2017
As a self-financing resource, this new center will open its doors to outpatients during the afternoons for therapies and recretational activities.
Budget Summary (as of 30/06/2018):
- Total Budget: USD 7,040,521
- Raised: USD 5,830,027
• Studies and Consultancy: USD 123,920
• In-Kind Donations: USD 71,055
• Specific donation for the construction of the Hydrotherapy unit : USD 1,052,744
• Total donations in Cash : USD 4,582,308
- Remaining Balance to be funded: USD 1,210,494
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT
The main objective of the present project is to improve the support provided to the children and youth with autism in Lebanon.
The project also aims to have a center which would be completely adapted to receive and support children and youth with autism and to create a family like structure for socialization and integration.
This center will adopt the sustainable construction standards.