DAMMAM: To coincide with International Day of Disability, Dammam launched the fifth annual forum for “Families of Persons with Disabilities” on Saturday with the slogan “economic growth.”
Under the patronage of Prince Saud bin Nayef, emir of the Eastern Province, who was on hand to personally lend his unwavering support to the hosting association “Liajlehum,” the event, that kicked off on Dec. 2, will conclude on Dec. 4.
With 50 speakers on stage — experts and specialists from around the Kingdom and the region — and seven academic talks, as well as numerous opportunities for dialogue and knowledge exchange, the forum serves as a support for families to empower their loved ones with disabilities.
This year, the emphasis was on using the latest developments in creativity, innovation and technological advancements to help elevate the economic growth for these families and for the entirety of the community.
Up the vast flights of stairs leading up to the Eastern Province municipal building’s hall — or through a wheelchair accessible path to the side — booths were set up to guide visitors to the various ways in which they may solicit more information to offer support and services to aid families who include a disabled person in their household.
The forum included practical ways for families to uplift their loved ones with disabilities and to offer a greater quality of life for them.
Speakers included Lamya Abdulaziz AlOmair, the head of AI and bioinformation at King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, who spoke about how we should not let “fear of failure” stop us from experimenting with AI and using available tools such as ChatGPT to help communicate complex medical advancements.
She reminded the audience that some disabilities are physical and some are invisible and we should be mindful of each when considering the best method to support families.
Day one focused on the economic growth potential for those with disabilities with experts presenting their findings and recommendations.
Day two focused on investments and included a workshop on how art could be used as a healing tool and as a profession for those with disabilities. In the exhibition space outside the auditorium, artists with disabilities created art live and happily chatted with spectators as they passed by.
Day three will focus on talks to help families secure a more economically-stable future for their families.
In an attempt to make the forum inclusive, it is free to attend and a live sign language interpreter is on stage to immediately translate spoken words.
The live stream also includes closed captioning and the building is wheelchair accessible.