Dubai kicks-off autism awareness campaign

Photo: WAM

The Dubai Autism Centre has launched its autism awareness campaign as part of the twelfth World Autism Awareness Day, marked annually on 2nd April.

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, ASD, refers to a broad range of conditions characterised by challenges with social skills, communication and language, and a narrow range of interests and activities unique to the individual that are carried out repetitively. According to the World Health Organisation, WHO, it is estimated that 1 in 160 children has an ASD worldwide.

World Autism Awareness Day sees the international community come together, with hundreds of thousands of landmarks, buildings, homes and communities around the world, light blue in recognition of people living with autism. Autism-friendly events and educational activities take place all month to increase understanding and acceptance and foster worldwide support.

Since 2006, the Dubai Autism Centre has organised events and activities that highlight the importance of community support in promoting social inclusion and integration of individuals with autism.

The Centre's campaign is held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council. It includes several presentations across schools and public departments aimed at increasing public awareness and promoting a better understanding of the various challenges related to individuals with autism and how early intervention is essential for them.

Commenting on the launch of this year's autism awareness drive, Mohammed Al Emadi, Director-General and Board Member of Dubai Autism Centre, said, "The awareness campaign is in line with the Dubai Disability Strategy 2020, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to position the emirate as a friendly city for people of determination. We aim to promote the inclusion of people with autism in the community and enable them to engage with their environments as capable individuals."

"The Dubai Autism Centre has continuously focused on providing autism rehabilitation services and on raising awareness on the issues of children with autism and their families. The Centre is making a real difference in the lives of people through our year-round activities," he added.

Al Emadi underlined the importance of community support to families of children with autism, adding that they face psychological, social and economic challenges that can be overcome through greater awareness of autism among the public.

The Dubai Autism Centre is a non-profit organisation launched in 2001 with the objective of successfully integrating children with autism into the mainstream through focused efforts to create social awareness about autism spectrum disorder.

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