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Burj Al Arab to be lit blue in support of autism

World Autism Awareness Day on April 2

Gulf News

Dubai: The Burj Al Arab, one of Dubai’s iconic landmarks, will be awash in blue light in support of World Autism Awareness Day, marked on April 2.

The day, declared by the United Nations General Assembly, calls for greater international attention to address the stigma, lack of awareness and inadequate support structures associated with those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

In Dubai several events, fundraising activities and awareness workshops are being organised to spread the message of solidarity towards the international Light It Up Blue campaign.

The Child Early Intervention Medical Centre (CEIMC) in collaboration with the Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) has activities planned throughout April.

Dr Hibah Shata, Managing Director, told Gulf News, that the activities aim to raise awareness towards the condition, and bring together health care authorities like the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and the DHCC for a common cause.

“The Burj Al Arab and a few more hotels under the Jumeirah Group will to be lit in blue. The Autism Awareness gala dinner at Jumeirah Beach Hotel on April 2 is supported by the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation – Global, a grant-making foundation. On April 20, there will be a Walk for Autism community event at Zabeel Park,” she said.

Marwan Abedin, CEO of DHCC said in press statement, “The CEIMC works tirelessly to draw attention to the disorder.”

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ASD affects about 1 in 88 children. The international body suggests that the rate of autism is on the increase.

Official UAE figures on the number of people affected by autism aren’t available. However, non-profit societies like the Emirates Autism Society and the Dubai Autism Centre estimate that hundreds are affected.

The condition is characterised by impaired social interaction, and issues with verbal and nonverbal communication.

Events this month include educational activities to highlight the importance of early detection, developmental screening and early intervention.