Hamad International to open lounge for people with learning disabilities and autism
The new lounge will include certain aspects of a sensory room, facilities designed for the therapy of children with learning disabilities.
ALL INCLUSIVE: The mosque at Hamad International at sunset
Hamad International Airport (HIA) will be opening a special handling lounge focused on the requirements of passengers with learning disabilities and autism. The announcement follows a partnership struck up between the Qatari airport and the Shafallah Center, one of the Qatar Foundation for Social Work’s (QFSW) affiliated centres.
Both parties formalised their partnership on Monday (June 11), with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) by Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Chief Operating Officer at HIA and Amal Abdullatif Al Mannai, Chief Executive officer of Qatar Foundation Social Work & Acting Chief Executive Officer at Shafallah Center.
In the MoU, HIA committed to adding the special handling lounge, with the centre overseeing its set up to ‘ensure the comfort and convenience’ of the passengers it serves. According to the airport, which is the second busiest in the Middle East, the lounge will feature certain aspects of a sensory room, specially designed to be used for the therapy for children with limited communication skills, including electronic carpets, which allow children to play games and activities.
Shafallah Center will also provide specialised training for ground handling staff at HIA on how to provide special care and assistance to passengers with special needs including those with autism.
Ms Al Mannai said: “The signing of this important MoU marks HIA & Shafallah Center’s keenness on providing the best services and experience to the community we serve. With joint effort and working with the best international practices, we are providing HIA passengers with a very unique and dedicated lounge for persons with intellectual disabilities and autism”.
The Shafallah Center was established by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser in 1999 to provide education and rehabilitation to people with learning disabilities and autism who were under 21 years old.
Mr Al Meer said: “At HIA, we are continuously looking for ways to improve the travel experience for our passengers with special needs. It is a priority for us that all our customers have the same level of satisfaction when it comes to experiencing HIA’s services and facilities. We are grateful and happy to have the expertise of the specialists at Shafallah to guide us through our process of making HIA a special needs friendly airport.”