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One child diagnosed with autism every 20 minutes

Several workshops planned in April for parents to get their children screened

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Statistics indicate that every 20 minutes, a child is diagnosed with autism in the UAE and one out of every 110 children is autistic, said an official.

This pervasive disorder affects tens of millions worldwide and the world is still struggling to fully understand this condition, which first appeared in the early 1900s.

Marking the sixth annual world autism awareness day, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) hosted the Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs (ZHO) who gave a lecture on Autism Awareness at the Authority’s Abu Dhabi Office.

“Several workshops will be conducted throughout the month of April for parents, who are suspicious about their young children to seek immediate screening for autism,” said Khawla Al Saaedi, the head of the organising committee at Ataya.

Ataya, which means donations, aims to allocate the proceeds of renting the outlets as well as entry ticket sales and donations contributed by attendees, to a charity entity or charitable project.

With 700 cases of autistic children across the UAE, in which 332 are nationals and 268 others, the aim of the event is to spread awareness about autism and its symptoms, characterised by impaired social interaction, communication, restricted and repetitive or unusual practices and the best ways to deal with it.

“World autism awareness day is a global push for change and this is precisely why we have joined the international community to help generate awareness about autism,” said Mohammad Nasser Al Ghanim, director general of TRA.

“The UAE encourages autistic individuals and has therefore put in place several internationally accredited centres that help them and their families successfully integrate into the community,” he added.

“Additionally, a selection of 20 employees will be trained outside the UAE for more than one month to get more experience and provide them with the sufficient knowledge to deal with autistic children from different ages and they will be distributed across the UAE,” Khawla explained.

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