World Autism Awareness Day is observed on April 2. Image Credit: Getty Images

Abu Dhabi: The Department of Community Development (DCD) in Abu Dhabi has affirmed that the observance of World Autism Awareness Day, which falls on April 2, represents an opportunity to enable persons with autism to participate in society actively.

This year’s observance will address inclusive quality education for all as part of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), which focuses on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities to improve people’s lives and reduce inequalities.

Dr Layla Abdulaziz Al Hyas, executive director of the Social Monitoring and Innovation Sector at DCD, said: “The Department is making great efforts with partners through the Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination to empower persons with autism,” noting that they are an integral part of the society. “They have full rights to lead a dignified life, obtain a quality education, and access suitable job opportunities,” Dr Al Hyas added.

Dr Al Hyas further said: “The celebration of World Autism Awareness Day is an opportunity to shed light on the autism disorder and raise community awareness on the importance of accepting persons with autism. They are a part of human diversity. It is the responsibility of society and all entities to ensure their access to equitable rights and opportunities in health, education, work and community participation.”

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It is also imperative to raise awareness on the importance of early detection and diagnosis of children with autism — the earlier the diagnosis, the greater the chances are for early intervention, she stated.

Dr Al Hyas indicated that this day is an occasion to address and demystify false information and stereotypes about autism, support families to deal with their children and provide them with the necessary guidance to monitor early signs of autism and seek intervention as early as possible.