Dubai Unveils Autism Initiative In Partnership With Specialized Entities From The UAE And Abroad

The Dubai Early Childhood Development Centre (DECDC), an initiative by the Community Development Authority (CDA), has announced a strategic co-operation with the Child Early Intervention Medical Centre, Emirates Medical Association, Zayed University and Dubai Healthcare City to tackle autism and its impact on the UAE society.

At a press conference held on Tuesday 20th of April, DECDC also announced the ‘Autism around the World Symposium 2010’, the first initiative of the collaboration, to be held from 6-8 May 2010 under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific research in UAE.

The symposium will host a group of specialists and experts from several Arab and foreign countries, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well as the UK and USA, who will lead workshops on various educative elements concerning autism.

The symposium aims to introduce the latest methods in treating autism and help psychologists, therapists and educators in the GCC to learn from international best practices in this segment. It also comes at a time when the GCC is in urgent need of learning resources on autism and its effective management.

Sheikh Maktoum Bin Butti Al Maktoum, CEO, Social Care, CDA said:” The strategic co-operation between DECDC and Child Early Intervention Medical Centre, Emirates Medical Association, Zayed University and Dubai Healthcare City, confirms the commitment to building a coherent and solid society. It also underlines Dubai’s vision and the priority given by the UAE to investing in its people.”

Dr. Sulaiman Al Jassim, Vice-President of Zayed University, praised the initiative for organizing the Global Forum on Autism as a humanitarian gesture which reflects the care and attention given to people with special needs on both the scientific research and community levels. This Forum is an important path to investigate causes, prevention and treatment of autism on the international level. He added that Zayed University has practically addressed this matter recently through establishing its Accessibility Office which cares for students with special needs, including autism, to provide them with administrative services, academic and social facilities that will help them a lot in completing their studies, perform research work and practice all their activities normally in the University.

Dr. Bushra Al Mulla, Director of the Dubai Early Childhood Development Centre added: “We hope that our participation in the symposium will help in enhancing awareness about autism and shed light on the importance of dealing with autistic children. DECDC will endeavour to ensure that autistic children around us get the best treatment and services.”

Dr Hibah Shata, Managing Director of Child Early Intervention Medical Center, delivered a speech on behalf of Dr. Ali Al Numairi, Director of Emirates Medical Association saying that the association fully supports practices and activities that target all segments of society stating that ”Autism affects children during the first three years of their age and it restricts their ability for social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication and behaviour in many ways. Helping them overcome such restrictions requires significant awareness among the medical community, families and societies around them,”