|March 31, 2008
Burst the myths this April Autism Awareness Month
Zabeel Investments partners with Dubai Autism Center on a calendar of awareness raising events throughout April
Dubai, March 31, 2008: This April sees the launch of Dubai Autism Center's (DAC) 2nd annual Autism month which comprises of a packed calendar of events aiming to burst the bubble of myths surrounding children with Autism and allowing members of the public to reach out to those affected with it. Through the activities, Dubai Autism Center and its partner, Zabeel Investments, are hoping to increase awareness and raise funds for a much needed new state-of-the-art Center in Garhoud which will enable them to offer more services to children and their parents, and gradually increasing the current enrolment from 43 to 140 children.
Highlights of Autism awareness month include a first of its kind Bubble'thon event on the evening of 1st April where the public can join Dubai Autism Center staff, students and supporters in a bubble-filled venue at the Dubai International Financial Center. Later in the month there will also be a visit from UK artist Stephen Wiltshire, who is being brought to Dubai to take a short helicopter ride over the city and then draw from memory the spectacular skyline of Dubai. Also known as the "human camera", Stephen Wiltshire, who has Autism, has drawn many incredible sights including New York, Las Angeles, Venice, Rome, and Tokyo among many others.
Additional events include a motorbike rally by the UAE Harley Davidson Club, a silent auction of paintings created by students at the Center and a health practitioners conference aimed at raising awareness amongst practitioners, pediatricians and primary health care nurses on the early signs of Autism.
Mohammed Al Emadi, Director General and Board Member, DAC said: "Autism is estimated to effect as high as 1 out of 150 children. Autism is not a disability - it's a lifelong neurological developmental disorder and with proper treatment and education it can be improved to an extent that will allow the affected individuals to live full, productive lives. Throughout Autism Month in April we hope to help educate the public about what it's like to live with Autism, what signs to look for and raise awareness that early intervention is key in helping burst the bubble that surrounds children with Autism."
Despite the modern advances in Dubai, our society still faces the challenge of Autism and related social and economical problems. DAC relies on the goodwill and generosity of individual/corporate donors, however due to the growth in the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in the last decade; DAC is experiencing a greater demand on its resources with approximately 90 students on a waiting list yet to be enrolled.
Amina Taher, Executive Director of Corporate Communications at Zabeel Investments, said: "The cause of the Dubai Autism Center is one we hold close to our hearts. Throughout the month our team, as well as partner companies, will be supporting the Center on many levels, giving of time to help raise awareness and additional funds. It is only when we come together for a cause like this that you can appreciate the good works done at the Center."
Events in Autism Month are made possible with the help of corporate supporters Zabeel Investments, DIFC, Arab Media Group, Zed Communications, Damas, and Flying Elephant.
Members of the general public are encouraged to support the Dubai Autism Center, either through attendance at the various events which have been organised or by visiting the campaign website www.autismapril.ae.
The Dubai Autism Center is a non-profit organization, relying on fund raising and donations for all its running costs. It was launched in November 2001 by a decree law by H H Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and is the only Center of its kind in Dubai dedicated to this spectrum disorder. The Center provides educational and therapeutic programmes for the children through a team of dedicated professionals