Autistic children aged between 5 to18 with nationalities spanning Emirati, American, British, Indian, Sudanese and beyond recently took part in a pilot comedy program in Dubai. This was a part of the project launched by Autism Smiles - Youth Comedy Club, a creation of Mina Liccione and Ali Al Sayed, the husband-and-wife team from Dubais Dubomedy Arts School. Their mission is to bring joy and laughter to people of different cultural, religious and financial backgrounds by using comedy as a tool.
Throughout the program these children were encouraged to try out a variety of creative skills designed to enhance self-expression and boost self-confidence. As laughter is proven to de-stress and calm the brain, making others laugh is empowering and improves social skills. During the fun-filled sessions, the youngsters learnt physical comedy routines, circus skills such as juggling and plate spinning, as well as songs, dances and comedy storytelling.
It was an honor to be part of such an important project that is intended to help break the stigma associated with autism, says Liccione. We learnt a lot and have made lifelong friends from the experience. There was a lot of work, love, patience and compassion families with ¬special-needs children require. The program was a humble gift to the parents and their kids who do not always get all the support they need.