Abu Dhabi

World Autism Awareness Day is observed annually on April 2nd, aiming to raise awareness and increase understanding of autism spectrum disorders in communities, and to affirm, promote, and ensure the human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals with autism on an equal basis with others.

Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition that often appears in early childhood, affecting individuals regardless of gender, race, or socioeconomic background and persists throughout life.

The term refers to the diversity and various characteristics of those on the autism spectrum, therefore by providing suitable support, adaptations, and acceptance of neurological differences, individuals with autism can enjoy equal opportunities and fully participate in society.

In this context, the Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination stands as an international model to be emulated, aiming to shift from a medical view of disability to a legal and social perspective. Abu Dhabi is dedicated to building an inclusive society for people of determination by developing supportive legislation, policies, services, and programmes.

For people of determination and their families, the strategy is grounded on fundamental principles that recognize them as essential members of society, and all relevant entities must work to incorporate the perspective of disability into their policies, programmes, and services, thereby fostering the empowerment and integration of people of determination in all facets of life.

Her Excellency Dr. Layla Abdulaziz Al Hyas, Executive Director of the Community Development Sector at DCD, said: “The Department of Community Development, in cooperation with partners and stakeholders from various government, private, and third sector agencies, has developed a comprehensive and integrated road map through various initiatives within the framework of the Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination. This aims to empower and better integrate people of determination and raise community awareness around them to build a perspective that supports their rights, creating a harmonious and cohesive society.”

She added, “Today in Abu Dhabi, we have moved beyond merely raising awareness about autism to affirming and enhancing acceptance and appreciation of individuals with autism and their contributions to society. The lack of cultural and societal understanding towards individuals with autism represents a significant behavioral challenge that impacts both individuals and their families deeply. This underscores the DCD’s commitment to working within a comprehensive government vision, dedicating efforts to develop essential policies and program aimed at addressing the challenges encountered by individuals with autism and their families in areas of diagnosis, therapeutic rehabilitative services, and their integration into educational institutions, workplaces, and the broader society.”

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