Could too much TV cause a baby to develop autism?
he Dubai Clinical Guidelines will be a major tool for making decisions and developing policies related to people with autism spectrum disorder. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: The Dubai Government has released the Dubai Clinical Practice Guideline for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Children and Adolescents, an important initiative to enhance the integrated health and social care system for people of determination, particularly those with ASD.

The guidelines aim to unify the procedures and mechanisms for early detection and intervention, integration of treatment methods and protocols, and upgrading of health and social services with an aim to ensure people with autism have equal opportunities in education, health, employment and other spheres of life.

The policy is aligned with the implementation of the inclusive health policy programme of the Dubai Disability Strategy 2020 that forms part of the ‘My Community... A City for Everyone’ initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai. The strategy aims to transform Dubai into a highly accessible city for people of determination, secure their rights and provide them the highest quality of life.

In its mission, objectives and scope of implementation, the guidelines are consistent with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) renewed call to governments around the world to boost policies, systems and guidelines for improving the quality of life of people with ASD and enhancing their health and wellbeing.

WHO estimates that worldwide about one in 160 children have ASD. The Dubai Clinical Guidelines will be a major tool for making decisions and developing policies related to people with autism spectrum disorder, as well as providing healthcare providers and families guidance on helping children and young people with ASD overcome the challenges and health conditions they face, integrate them socially and provide them a high quality of life.

Awadh Al Ketbi, Director-General of the Dubai Health Authority, said that Dubai has introduced several policies, principles and objectives that place it at the forefront of cities that address the needs of people of determination. The city is working with all stakeholders to become a global role model for the provision of health and social care to people of determination, including those with ASD.

The protocols and guidelines that form part of the new document were developed by a Government of Dubai team with the objective of ensuring the highest standards of care for people with ASD in the emirate. The team included representatives from Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital, the Dubai Health Authority and the Dubai Healthcare City Authority, who consulted with global experts from the United States and Australia and drew from international best practices.

The authority confirmed that the guidelines will be translated and distributed to medical facilities to ensure that its recommendations reach families, helping enhance the provision of integrated care for people with ASD.