Dubai Frame, Children's City, and Quranic Park have become the first recreational facilities certified as autism-friendly in the region.
The Public Parks and Recreational Facilities Department in Dubai Municipality has been awarded the Autism-Friendly Certificate (AFC) in recognition of providing a safe and friendly environment for people with autism.
Dr Nicholas Orland, Chief Program Officer at Dubai Autism Centre (DAC), revealed that the organizing committee of the Autism-Friendly Program arranged a number of workshops and field visits to the facilities to review them. The program was launched in September this year as a first of its kind initiative in the region to encourage the community to embrace higher accessibility standards for individuals with autism.
DAC, a non-profit organization founded in 2001, provides specialized services to take care for children with autism and provide support for their families and their caregivers. Their services include educational, psychological and rehabilitative programs for children with autism. The financial resources of the centre consist of subsidies, donations and any charitable endowments for the welfare of the centre.
According to Dawoud Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality, the certificate recognizes the municipality's efforts in line with the vision of Dubai government to transform the emirate into a friendly city for people of determination. “Dubai Municipality seeks to provide the highest levels of care and the best services [to] People of Determination and help their integration into society,” he said.
Entities that have AFC are subject to evaluation once a year. Customer satisfaction is gauged through a mystery shopper approach, usually represented by people with autism and their families. Based on this evaluation, the validity of the classification will be approved for consecutive years.
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 44 children is affected by ASD.
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