Dubai: On World Autism Day, the UAE Ministry of Education (MoE) reiterated its commitment to supporting the interests of students of determination.
“The Ministry of Education is keen on supporting the interests of students of determination with autism through the various services it provides. As per the latest statistics, there are 301 students with autism enrolled in public schools around the #UAE #people_of_determination,” the ministry tweeted on Friday.
April 2 is celebrated every year as World Autism Awareness Day, following the adoption of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution, setting the day “to inspire member-states to take action in raising awareness about people with an autism spectrum disorder”. The UN Resolution 62/139 adopted on December 18, 2007, also encourages member-states to support research and finding new ways to improve wellness, social equity and inclusion.
The MoE noted “there is still no scientific explanation for the specific causes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)”. According to studies, the prevalence rate in the United States is one out of 54 children. Its main symptoms include difficulty with communication and social skills as well as repetitive behaviour. Medical experts said since ASD is a spectrum disorder with a range of linked conditions, symptoms and traits, “every single person with it has a different set of strengths and challenges”. There are highly skilled to severely challenged people and some with ASD may need support in their daily lives, while other can live independently.
Students with autism
The MoE noted: “Students with high-functioning autism can complete their education at secondary level, join institutes and universities as per abilities and achieve specialisation by fulfilling the requirements of the university. As for students with low-functioning autism, they can enrol in vocational and applied rehabilitation programmes and streams that qualifies them to join the labour market for applying jobs that suit their capabilities,” the ministry added.
Make equity a reality
Meanwhile, during his annual message on World Autism Day, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reminded: “While people join hands to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, a key goal must also be to ensure a more inclusive and accessible environment recognising the contributions of everyone, including people with disabilities.”
He added that there is a need to reignite the global economy that “offers an opportunity to reimagine the workplace to make diversity, inclusion and equity a reality”.