Dr. Ben Hadj Hassine: A Compassionate Leader Enabling a Better Quality of Life for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum


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Dr. Ben Hadj Hassine, CEO and Managing Director, The Doris Duan-Young Autism Center (DDY)

Leadership is not always only about being in charge. It’s about empowering, encouraging, and elevating others. True leaders not only lead the pack but also contribute to the overall growth and development of the team and the organization. They care for their employees and empower their teams in becoming the best version of themselves. They create an environment filled with passion, enthusiasm, empathy, and commitment to contribute to the betterment of society.

Implementing this compassionate, value-added approach, one avid entrepreneur who set out on a mission to build capacity and capability in autism care is Dr. Ben Hadj Hassine, the CEO and Managing Director of The Doris Duan-Young Autism Center (DDY). Dr. Ben is a firm believer in capacity building and empowerment of all people, with a strong belief in this statement, “If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach them the way they learn!” He is also highly inspired by the quote from Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, his royal highness—“Treat your team the way you want them to treat your customers” and shares the same philosophy for his team.

With more than 30 years of extensive experience in business development and entrepreneurial management across Europe, Dr. Ben forms the most accurate picture of a visionary in its true sense. He is an innovative entrepreneur and results-driven leader focused on achieving exceptional results in highly competitive environments that demand continuous improvement.

Delivering Comprehensive, Personalized, and Innovative Care

Nurtured under the leadership of Dr. Ben, DDY provides multidisciplinary care under one roof for children and young adults. Located in the Dubai Healthcare City free zone, its facilities, spread over 11,500 square feet cater to more than 18 services across assessment, clinical, therapeutic, inclusion, and vocational programs, and community and caregiver training. Its knowledgeable and experienced Clinical Director collaborates with Case Managers and Therapists in the field to ensure that they are effectively delivering evidence- based individualized treatment. Its Applied Behaviour Analysis Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech-Language Therapy, and Occupational Therapy programs are designed to increase the overall functional independence of each child through a comprehensive screening and assessment.

Conquering the Challenges along the Way

Being an entrepreneur often comes with challenges and roadblocks, and Dr. Ben’s journey was no different. The avid entrepreneur played a prominent role in the early years of The Doris Duan-Young Autism Center. Despite being faced with numerous business challenges, he had identified key areas that required attention upon consultation with employees, strategized solutions, established a novel framework, and restructured the team to successfully raise DDY’s status as one of the leading institutes of its kind in the region. Under his insightful leadership, DDY soon expanded to include two new therapeutic centers and one Admin office, and further gained recognition, not just in the GCC, but also across the globe. Today, the center is proudly catering to more than 200 families, many of whom have specifically come to the UAE to receive treatment from DDY and have been successfully enrolled in mainstream schools after the treatment.

“From day one of DDY until today, we continue to receive overwhelming support and trust from our families. We have witnessed the challenges and obstacles that they have been facing and we have worked hand-in-hand to achieve their child’s maximum potential through our passionate team of professionals who work collaboratively to provide services that are programmed to build on skills that are key for leading a functional life,” asserts Dr. Ben.

Leading by Example

As someone who likes to lead by example, Dr. Ben believes in supporting and empowering his employees, family, and community members. For him, good leadership is being able to inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more. Driven by his leadership style and value-centric approach, a client shares, “people admire his positivity, tenacity, constancy and emotional intelligence. When he comes into your life, he turns you into a better person, you can’t help it.” Such testimonials undoubtedly give a clear picture of how his people describe him as a leader.

“Being an entrepreneur and owning a business that employs 100 employees means that I also have the responsibility for 100 families that depend on me to make good decisions. I also have a responsibility to my 200 clients’ families. So, for every decision I make I have to think about the consequences and weigh a lot of factors. In the end, I am ultimately responsible,” adds Dr. Ben.

Success Is Being Happy and Grateful

Every successful leader has their own definition of success. For Dr. Ben, success is creating a viable future for his family, employees, and clients. According to the ardent entrepreneur, success is building something you believe in, with people that inspire you, that will make the world a better place. “If you are truly happy and grateful for what you have and wake up with a smile, then you have achieved success. True success can be defined in terms of bettering yourself in the pursuit of ultimately benefiting others. Success is having the sunshine on the inside of your heart because you arise each day knowing that you are, you have and you will make a difference in the world you live in. Success is the ability to provide happiness to people you love,” affirms Dr. Ben.

Driven by Dr. Ben’s exemplary leadership, strong values, and customer-oriented philosophy, DDY has been awarded on multiple occasions including DHCA Excellence Awards 2020 – Winner of Outpatient Clinics Award, 1st Place in Rehabilitation Center Category, and DHCA Excellence Awards 2019 – Winner of Healthcare Innovation Award, 2nd Place in Outpatient Clinics Category. In honor of winning the Excellence Awards for two consecutive years, Dr. Ben shares, “This is a proud moment for us as it took us almost five years to reach this platform, five years of hard work, and many success stories. We feel so blessed to have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of so many gifted children.”

Continues Empowering individuals on the Autism Spectrum

Since the foundation of DDY in 2014, Dr. Ben’s vision for the center is to become the trusted leader in innovative care for individuals with autism, and build an inclusive society in the UAE and beyond. In order to achieve this goal, the company constantly strives to improve its services and recruit highly skilled individuals who bring new education and expertise to the team. It also ensures that its therapists are engaged in furthering their education and its team stays up to date with the most recent research in the field while continuing to guarantee that it has the space and equipment each discipline requires to provide the best services. With such strategic growth plans, value-added service, and commitment to helping people share who they are with the world, Dr. Ben Hadj, together with his Amazing DDY Team is set to prove that DDY is surely an Expertise That Cares.

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