Autism Week in UAE: 760 people of determination take part in fitness championship

The event highlights the importance of accepting people with the condition


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Tue 19 Apr 2022, 7:34 PM

More than 760 people of determination from 11 countries took part in a fitness championship held virtually in Abu Dhabi to mark the 15th Annual Autism Awareness Week.

The Emirates Physical Fitness Championship for People of Determination was organised by the Emirates Autism Center (EAC) in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The awareness week is being held under the patronage of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence.

Titled: ‘I am an Athlete’, the event saw participants were from 88 centres and schools, including 57 from the UAE and the rest from 10 countries: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya.

Dr Amal Jalal Sabri, managing director of the EAC, noted April is observed as the ‘Autism Acceptance Month’ and the autism week aims at instilling the concept of acceptance.

“This comes alongside a campaign that sheds light on the concept of neuro-diversity in people with autism spectrum and respecting the difference in their methods of dealing with the information,” Dr Sabri said.

The awareness week seeks to highlight the importance of acceptance of people with autism spectrum.

The EAC, she pointed out, has changed its logo from the shape of a puzzle and blue colour to a new design in purple colour reflecting the acceptance of difference and neurodiversity of the people with autism spectrum.

The EAC has 50 students with 53 per cent Emirati nationals. Among the key programmes of the centre is integrating people of determination socially and educationally. About 35 per cent of the students of the centre are integrated in schools and universities across the UAE.

The event also strives to open new doors of cooperation and support from entities and individuals.


Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been cooperating with the EAC and supporting the awareness week for more than 15 years now, said its director general Mohamed Helal Al Mheiri.

“The Chamber’s support stems from its belief in spreading the spirit of participation in the community, encouraging national institutions to shed light on the autism spectrum and the importance of supporting the specialised centres that are concerned with this group of people of determination,” he said.

Later this week, a drawing competition titled ‘Be Creative’ will see participation from 10 centres in the country.

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