Maha Helali earned her Masters Degree in Inclusive and Special Education from Institute of Education of University of London. After Maha’s son, Mostafa, was diagnosed with autism in 1995, she quit her post with UNESCO to establish the Learning Resource Center (LRC) in 1996. In 1998, Maha established with other parents, the Egyptian ADVANCE Society for Persons with Autism & Related Disorders and has been the Chairperson since. In 2004, Maha was elected as the Coordinator for the UNESCO “Education for All” Consultancy Committee meeting for NGOs (EFA/UNESCO-CCNGO) for the Theme of Special Needs Education in the Arab Region. In 2006, Maha was recognized by the American University in Cairo for her efforts in advocating special needs persons. In 2007, Maha was chosen as an Ashoka Fellow to support her mission of including persons with Autism in the Egyptian Community. Maha is a member of the “Partners in Inclusion Network” which deals with the education of children with learning disabilities in the Arab region since 2008. In 2009, she co-established the Arab Network for Autism (ANA) has served as Secretary of the Board since. In addition, Maha is a member of the Committee on Basic Education Development Project “Social Contract” of the Information Centre for Decision Support of the Prime Minister’s Office of Egypt since 2009. In 2011, Maha was elected President of the Foundation of the Egyptian Experts and Organizations in support of Inclusive Education Foundation in Egypt (IEF). Maha has been elected in March 2012 as President of the Inclusion International – Middle East and North Africa (MENA). In 2015, Maha was chosen as a board-member of the Egyptian National Council of Disability Affairs (NCDA).
The ADVANCE Program for Adolescents & Adults with ASD in Egypt.
The lecturer will present the experience of the Advance Society in Egypt in designing their Transition into Adulthood (TIA) and Adults Experimental Work Placement (EWP) Programs that offer vocational assessments, career awareness and exploration, pre-employment skills training and work experiences. In addition, both programs continue to develop students’ domestic and life skills whilst providing the needed support to facilitate independence for each student based on their individual needs.