Dubai: Over 100 children given free screening for autism

According to Director-General of Dubai Autism Centre, time frame for detection and assessment ranges between five and seven working days

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Published: Sun 25 Dec 2022, 1:57 PM

Last updated: Sun 25 Dec 2022, 9:13 PM

Over 100 Emirati children were given free screening by the Dubai Autism Centre. The move, which came under the directive of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, is part of the National Autism Policy.

Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, Chairman of Dubai Autism Centre, said that the initiative encouraged Emirati families to speed up early detection of autism to ensure that their children receive the right comprehensive diagnostic assessment for required intervention.

Outlining the key results of the initiative that last almost eight months, Mohammed Al Emadi, Director-General of Dubai Autism Centre, said “It included 21 cases that were on the waiting list, in addition to 79 new children from all over the UAE who were suspected of having autism.”

According to him, the time frame for detection and assessment ranges between five and seven working days, subject to the requirements of each case. During the sessions, the child receives a consultation session with his guardian, supervised by a clinical psychologist after which an assessment team prepares comprehensive diagnostic assessment report. The experts then meet the parents to discuss the final report and explain therapy recommendations.

Several parents have appealed for the inclusion of autism examination services and therapies under the umbrella of insurance companies. The cost of a comprehensive diagnostic assessment by private clinics in the United Arab Emirates ranges between Dh5,000 and Dh7,000.

Dubai Autism Centre (DAC) is a non-profit organization founded in 2001. The Centre aims to provide specialised services for children with autism and provide support for their families and their caregivers as per Decree No. 26 of 2021 issued by Ruler of Dubai. The financial resources of the centre consist of subsidies, donations and any charitable endowments for the welfare of the centre.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that begins early in childhood and lasts throughout a person's life. ASD can cause significant social, communication, and behavioural challenges. According to recent studies, one in 54 children is affected by ASD.

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