International centre for autism therapy opens at Dubai Healthcare City on World Autism Awareness Day

April 3, 2014 1:28 pm

To support United Nations’ World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 and Autism Awareness Month, Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) and its business partners highlight the need to improve the lives of children and adults who suffer from autism.

The Day’s message for 2014 urges all concerned to take part in fostering progress by supporting education programs, employment opportunities and other measures.

From a series of planned events for the month, DHCC, a health and wellness destination that brings together a wealth of services in healthcare, medical education and research, announced the opening of Doris Duan-Young Autism Centre, a $1m plus facility, which can accommodate up to 100 adults and children.

The Doris Duan-Young Autism Centre, a sister company to Behavioural Support Services, Inc. and Behavioral Support Services FZ LLC, launched its first facility in the region in Dubai Healthcare City. Opened by founder and best-selling author, Doris Duan-Young, the state-of-the-art centre has been set up to provide early intervention, speech and behavioural therapy, and vocational training for adults and children with autism.

Having successfully helped over 25,000 families to cope with autism through her centre in Orlando in the United States, Duan-Young researched facilities for developmental disabilities in the Middle East, and found the region was in need of such a centre. The centre provides sensory rooms, theatre for imaginative play, a quiet room and space for group and single therapy, accommodating up to 100 adults and children.

Duan-Young, said, “We strive to lessen the challenges of autism and developmental disabilities and developmental delays. We tailor our services to provide an enriched environment complete with educational, cultural and recreational activities that promote growth, independence and social interaction.”

The Child Early Intervention Medical Centre (CEIMC) in Dubai Healthcare City released its figures on inclusion. According to the Centre, 70% of its students (90 in total) are partially or fully in mainstream schools and nurseries; of 70%, 50 are in mainstream schools and 20 in nurseries and learning centres. The CEIMC provides behavioural therapy, social therapy, communication, and academics to support inclusion of children with developmental delays in main stream schools and nurseries. It accepts children as young as 18 months.

The CEIMC is instrumental in initiating the Light It Up Blue campaign in Dubai. The campaign by the US-based autism advocacy organization Autism Speaks, raises awareness about the disorder through the blue illumination of iconic landmarks. This year will be the third consecutive year for CEIMC to rally for support in Dubai. Dubai Healthcare City will support the Light It Up Blue campaign in April; its entrance by the Dubai Metro Station will be awash in blue lighting. This year marks DHCC’s third consecutive participation. Last year’s iconic participating landmarks included Empire State Building in New York City and Burj Al Arab in Dubai.

The CEIMC will also organize the Sixth Annual Walk for Autism on April 26, 2014 at Zabeel Park, Dubai; more than 6,000 are expected.

Dr Hibah Shata, Managing Director of CEIMC, said, “World Autism Day is an opportunity for everyone in the UAE to support families and individuals affected by the condition. Inclusive education is about the child’s right to participate and the school’s duty to accept the child. We believe inclusion is not about the use of special schools or classrooms to separate students with disabilities from students without disabilities.”

Also in support of autism, the Dubai College of Dental Medicine (DCDM) through its clinical arm, the Dubai Dental Clinic (DDC) located at Dubai Healthcare City, partners with the UAE Autism Society. The DDC hosts an oral health drive on the Society’s premises in Mirdriff on April 2 from 4pm to 7pm involving approximately 60 families who have children with autism. The drive includes a mobile dental clinic, onsite screenings by DCDM residents, and workshops on oral health.

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