Autism Awareness

Mosab was diagnosed with autism as a child. He's smart and likes to learn, but he was having a lot of trouble fitting into his classroom.

Mosab is sensitive to sound and touch – which makes being in a crowded, noisy classroom really tough! He wasn't able to talk and play easily with his peers, which made him an easy target for bullying. And his teachers were always upset with him for "behaving badly."

Eventually, Mosab dropped out of school and his parents enrolled him in our alternative education program. But his challenges weren't over yet.

After his negative experience in school, Mosab was really anxious about trying school again. Our team brainstormed solutions with Mosab's family, and we learned that Mosab would be comfortable trying school again if his twin brother, Mohannad, could come too.

Mohannad doesn't have special needs, but he was happy to accompany his brother to a place where he had the chance to thrive. Mohannad's supportive presence provided a familiar home for Mosab, which made it easier for him to cope with a new environment.

Our alternative learning centers are often the only place for kids with special needs to get a solid education. But they're also a great place for any kid to get an education. Our alternative education centers are designed for both the Mosabs and Mohannads of the world.

We mentor our teachers to appreciate the challenges kids with special needs go through. And they, in turn, mentor their students on how they can all help alleviate these challenges together.

Our teachers totally understand that "behaving badly" often means people are "hurting badly."

Mosab started to show tremendous growth, especially in his interactions with other classmates. He started forming real friendships with people who appreciated the gifts he had to offer.

"We are seeing a whole new person. Even his way of interacting with us at home has improved," said Mosab's dad.

Celebrating Autism Awareness Day in Damascus, Syria.

These days, Mosab is pretty busy. He's planning on joining a vocational training program for special needs students. He has dreams to chase – just like the other kids.

When kids, their families, their communities, and the institutions and policies around them are all working together – the winners are clear: the kids. This interconnected ecosystem is the space where everyone wins through what we call Pro-Social Development. An incredibly powerful source of energy in Questscope to propel today's sidelined youth into brighter tomorrows.