Abu Dhabi: Over 180 students, aged four to 16, from special needs centres as well as public and private schools across Abu Dhabi participated yesterday in a Special Needs race organised by the Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs.

"This is the fourth edition of the event and we are pleased to see more government schools participating as it's for both autistic and normal children. This is a great way to help autistic children come out of their shell and also help them bond with their classmates," Aisha Saif Al Mansouri, Director, Abu Dhabi Centre for Autism, said.

While some schools have been participating since the event was first launched, there were also many first-timers.

"This year, we enrolled a special needs child for the first time in our school. At first. Khalid, who is 10, didn't know how to interact but slowly he began adjust. We trained him for the event and it is nice to see him interacting with other children," Naamat Salah Al Deen, a teacher at Jaber Bin Hayaan School in Abu Dhabi said.

Winners of each race were awarded trophies, medals and gifts. The top 10 winners got monetary prizes.

"Autism is one of the toughest mental illnesses for a child to suffer from because they stay in their own world and it becomes difficult to get them out of it. That's why these events are so important. They help them interact with others and make friends, and it's wonderful to see just how happy everyone is," Mohammad Fadil Al Hameli, General Secretary, Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs, said.



  • 1st place, girls only race: Aisha Al Fallahi, Emirates Autism Centre
  • 1st place, under 12 race: Abdullah Khalid Al Noor
  • 1st place, under 16 race: Shamsudeen Al Hassani, Emirates Autism Centre