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Dubai Autism Center launches its 18th awareness campaign

Dubai Autism Center launches its 18th awareness campaign
1 Apr 2024 14:51

DUBAI (ALETIHAD)

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, the Dubai Autism Center launched its 18th one-month-long Autism Awareness Campaign coinciding with World Autism Awareness Day celebrated on 2 April, under the slogan: Trusting Parents, Empowered Kids.

Hisham Abdullah Al Qassim, Chairman of Dubai Autism Center, said: “As part of worldwide efforts to advance autism awareness, the UAE joins the global community in celebrating World Autism Awareness Day. Our commitment is reflected in our notable achievements in empowering people of determination and helping them become integral and valued members of our society. These accomplishments reflect the priority our wise leadership places on the inclusion of people of determination, the protection of their rights, and the recognition of their vital role in realising sustainable development objectives.”

Al Qassim expressed his gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, for the patronage he extends every year to the annual autism awareness campaign. He highlighted His Highness's dedication to empowering people of determination by providing them with the resources needed to reach their full potential and raising the UAE's position as a global leader in integrating and ensuring the well-being of people of determination.

Regarding the campaign’s aims, Mohammed Al Emadi, Director General of the Dubai Autism Center, said: “In alignment with the Dubai Social Agenda 33 launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, under the theme of ‘Family: The Foundation of Our Nation’, this year's campaign emphasises the importance of building stronger bonds between parents and their children on the autism spectrum.”

Al Emadi emphasised the significance of having faith in the capabilities of children with autism and taking pride in their achievements, which enables these children to engage fully in social activities. He stressed the importance of their inclusion in social groups that are welcoming, ensuring they feel safe and supported within a nurturing family setting.

Al Emadi also stated that the campaign features a variety of events and activities to promote awareness, most notably Ramadan awareness nights, workshops for mainstream teachers, and educational sessions for public and private sector organisations to create more autism-friendly environments and build a more inclusive and welcoming community for everyone.
In a push for early intervention, Al Emadi also said the campaign will include free early autism screenings and comprehensive assessments of people with autism and developmental disorders.

Al Emadi explained that the campaign will utilise mass media, cinemas, and a network of over 2,000 digital screens in public spaces across the UAE, including ENOC gas stations, Union Coops, Géant and Aswaaq supermarkets, and shopping centres.

Al Emadi praised the efforts of the leading partners and supporters of the campaign, extending his special thanks to Wasl Asset Management Group, the campaign's strategic partner. He also extended his gratitude to the campaign’s main partners, including Emirates Islamic Bank, Dubai Holding, Dubai Investments, Endowments and Minors’ Trust Foundation in Dubai (Awqaf Dubai), Union Coop, and GET Group.

The Dubai Autism Center's Director General acknowledged the valuable support of their partners in the campaign, including the Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Police, Dubai Airports, Dubai Health Authority, Emirates Health Services, Community Development Authority in Dubai, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Culture, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), Dubai World Trade Centre, and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library.

Al Emadi also acknowledged the contributions of other sponsors and supporters, such as Aster DM Healthcare, Global Village, GMG Group, The Green Planet, Ski Dubai, The H Hotel, and Nando’s, and SHEIN.

He also extended his gratitude to the campaign’s media and advertising partners, including the Government of Dubai Media Office, as well as Zee Entertainment, Hypermedia Advertising, Hills Advertising, Novo Cinemas, Gulf News, Dar Al Khaleej, and ITP Media Group. He praised the efforts of Balsam Healthcare Development, which was represented by the ‘Balsam’ show on Noor Dubai Radio.


As part of the campaign, the Dubai Autism Center, in cooperation with the Community Development Authority in Dubai, is organising a Ramadan evening on Thursday (4 April) that features panel discussions. Topics that will be addressed include the importance of family support and ways to strengthen the relationship of parents with their children with autism, as well as enhance belief and pride in their abilities. The event, to be held at the Al Khawaneej Majlis in the presence of families of people with autism, government officials and representatives of POD centres, will include competitions, raffles, and prizes.


Under the umbrella of the campaign, the Center will also organise a number of awareness and training workshops to educate private school employees in Dubai on the basic approach to dealing with students with autism in accordance with relevant legislation, procedures and systems.



Highlighting the role of media in supporting the campaign, Ashok Namboodiri, Chief Business Officer- International Business, said: “For over ten years, Zee Entertainment Middle East has partnered with the Dubai Autism Center to raise awareness about autism and emphasise the significance of fostering inclusivity. It's imperative that we acknowledge and honour the accomplishments of individuals and families navigating autism, facing additional hurdles daily. As a society, it's vital for us to offer collective support. Leveraging the influence of media, our goal is to deepen awareness about autism through collaboration with the Dubai Autism Centre. We aspire to invoke societal change by uplifting individuals and practising compassion together.”



On World Autism Awareness Day, landmarks across the world are illuminated in blue to honour the day. As part of the 18th annual autism awareness campaign, a number of landmarks in Dubai will light up in blue, including the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, Dubai Frame, Mohammed Bin Rashid Library, Global Village, and Ain Dubai.



Since its inception, the Dubai Autism Center has been dedicated to increasing public understanding of autism. This effort goes beyond merely highlighting the symptoms, but also involves educating both individuals and organisations on how to engage properly with people with autism. At the forefront of this educational endeavour is their yearly autism awareness campaign, initiated in 2006. This campaign is strategically launched on World Autism Awareness Day each year.



The Dubai Autism Center was established in 2001 by a decree of the Ruler of Dubai as the first Emirati non-profit organisation in the UAE that aims to provide integrated consulting, educational, and specialised therapeutic services in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As per Decree No. 26 of 2021, one of the Center’s main objectives is to contribute to transforming Dubai into a leading global hub for special education programmes and specialised rehabilitative treatment services for people diagnosed with ASD.



In 2017, the opening of the Center’s largest facility in the region marked a significant leap forward in autism care and support. Located in the Al Garhoud area, its fully-equipped facility aims to cover the high demand for its services with a total built-up area of 270,000 square feet that increased its capacity to 150%. The facility includes 40 classrooms, 22 motor therapy clinics, 18 speech therapy clinics, three sensory-therapy rooms, and a range of laboratories and medical clinics designed according to the latest international standards to provide a suitable educational environment for children with autism.



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 behavioural challenges. According to recent studies, one in 36 children is affected by ASD.

Source: Aletihad - Dubai
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