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Dubai Culture awarded certificates for three Autism-friendly facilities

By E247

In line with the “My Community... a City for Everyone” initiative that aims to transform Dubai into a friendly city for people of determination, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) has received Autism-Friendly Certificates (AFC) for the category of Cultural Facilities to acknowledge the Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children, Etihad Museum, and Al Shindagha Museum.
The accreditation certificates were presented at Dubai Autism Center’s headquarters during an official visit by the Dubai Culture delegation, headed by Hala Badri, the Authority’s Director General, and in the presence of Muna Faisal Algurg, CEO of the Cultural & Heritage Sector at Dubai Culture; Mansoor Lootah, CEO of the Operations Support Sector at Dubai Culture; Abdulla Alfalasi, Director of Etihad Museum; and Adel Omar, Senior Special Project and Media Director at Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children.
Her Excellency Hala Badri, Director General of Dubai Culture, affirmed the importance of supporting people of determination, developing their life and social skills, and refining their creative talents, saying: “At Dubai Culture, we seek to make a fundamental change in the lives of people of determination by adopting a set of innovative solutions that contribute to activating their presence and participation in the cultural and artistic events organised by the authority, based on our social responsibility towards them, and our awareness of the importance of their energies, skills, and creativity that must be developed and directed in the right direction, taken care of and invested in the best way, which will reflect positively on enriching the local cultural scene,” 
Badri confirmed that Dubai Culture’s obtaining the Autism-Friendly Certificate reflects its efforts in the field of empowering people of determination and integrating them into society, and ensuring their access to all the Authority’s assets and facilities. This is so they can enjoy the range of cultural experiences offered to all members of society in line with the Dubai government’s strategies that aim at meeting the needs of people of determination in all fields.
On this occasion, Al Emadi expressed his appreciation for the efforts of Dubai Culture and their tireless endeavor to enhance the benefit of people of determination, including individuals with autism, from the services they seek in their facilities to obtain an enriching experience and meet their needs as fully as others, in line with the vision of our wise government to transform the Emirate of Dubai into a friendly city for people of determination.
Al Emadi also confirmed that the Dubai Autism Center has sought, since its inception, to enhance community awareness of autism using innovative educational means, pointing out that the Autism-Friendly Program was launched in September this year as a first-of-its-kind initiative in the region aimed at certifying the role model of organizations in the public and private sectors and encouraging the community to embrace higher accessibility standards for individuals with autism.
About the procedures of the organizing committee of the AFC Certification Program, Eman Abushabab, Community Outreach Manager at the Dubai Autism Center, revealed that a number of training workshops and field visits were organized for Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children, Etihad Museum, and Al Shindagha Museum to provide their employees with the necessary information on how to interact and engage with individuals with autism,
“Based on the review and scrutiny of the criteria for achieving a safe and friendly environment for people with autism at different levels, individuals, facilities and services, these entities were awarded the Autism-Friendly Certificate (AFC) under the category of Cultural Facilities. 
Abushabab stated that entities that receive the AFC certification are subject to evaluation once a year, in addition to adopting a ‘mystery shopper’ approach, usually represented by people with autism and their families.
Founded by a decree of the ruler of Dubai in 2001, Dubai Autism Center aims to provide specialized services to take care for children with autism and provide support for their families and their caregivers. As per Decree No. 26 of 2021, Dubai Autism Center aims to contribute to making the Emirate of Dubai a leading hub in the world in the field of providing approved special education programs and specialized rehabilitative treatment services for people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The financial resources of the center consist of subsidies, donations and any charitable endowments for the welfare of the center.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that begins early in childhood and lasts throughout a person’s life. ASD can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. According to recent studies, one in 44 children is affected by ASD.