Dubai experts say autism action to go on
International Autism Month has just ended, but Dubai experts yesterday said the battle to raise awareness and cash - must continue.
At a panel lecture ‘Living with Autism’ at Dubai Women’s College, experts said that while there were no figures for how many people suffer from autism in the UAE, the worldwide prevalence is one in every 110 people.
In Dubai, the main centre for therapy for autistic children is Dubai Autism Centre, which cares for 46 children but has a further 200 on its waiting list.
It is trying to raise cash to finish off a new purpose-built building in Al Garhoud, which needs another Dhs25 million.
The centre, which currently operates out of a rented villa, was scheduled to move in 2009, but the financial crash hit and the hoped-for funds were no longer available.
The head of communications, Hayula Mourad, told 7DAYS: “The building is still there. The ground floor and first floor is ready to have the interiors finished - that means electrical work and so on.
“We push to try to get funding and investors and any time we are given money we pump it straight into the building.”
Autism, which has no genetic fingerprint and takes complex diagnosis, is usually spotted through some of the most common symptoms.
Dr Eman Gadd, of the British University in Dubai, said: “We look at eye contact, at how people are using language and we look at repetitive behaviour.”