The autism awareness month campaign, organized by the Ministry of Public Health in cooperation with various partner organizations in the country, was launched this Saturday at a family fun day event in the Al Shaqab equestrian center.
The event was jointly organized by Hamad Medical Corporation, Primary Health Care Corporation, World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), Qatar Autism Families Association, Nomas Center under the Ministry of Culture and Sports and Renad Academy. This community event is part of the wider celebrations held in Qatar to mark World Autism Awareness Month during the month of April. The United Nations has declared 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day, a day to raise awareness of individuals living with autism spectrum disorder.
Her Excellency Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health, highlighted the importance of increasing public education about autism spectrum disorder, noting that such awareness events provide important opportunities that contribute towards public education and understanding.
The Ministry of Public Health collaborates closely with all concerned authorities in Qatar to develop services for people living with autism. The Public Health Minister expressed appreciation at the cooperation of all concerned parties, saying: "It is important to intensify our collective efforts to fully support people with autism so that they can be integrated into society and participate with their peers in school activities, recreation, and work, according to their abilities."
The entertaining community day provided ample opportunity for families and children to take part in various events, including interaction with horses, different sports, and various recreational and awareness activities.
Dr. Mariam AbdulMalik, the Managing Director of the Primary Health Care Corporation said:
“We are honored to be a part of this national drive to not only raise awareness of autism alongside our esteemed partners but to also encourage friends and collaborators to become partners in the movement toward acceptance and appreciation. This is an opportunity to embrace a new perspective, to promote autism awareness, autism acceptance and to draw attention to many individuals facing an autism diagnosis each year.” She further elaborated: “We want to encourage our citizens to utilize our early screening services across primary health centers, and our teams are there to ensure inclusion in our communities that result in true appreciation of the unique facets of all.”
Additional autism awareness promotion activities will be held during the month of April throughout Doha; these have been organized by: Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development and its affiliated schools, Qatar University, Hamad Medical Corporation, Primary Health Care Corporation, Sidra Medical and Research Center, World Health Innovation Summit (WISH), Qatar Autism Families Association, Nomas Center under the Ministry of Culture and Sports, Renad Academy, Qatar Institute for Speech and Hearing (QISH), Ontario Center for Special Education, Step by Step Centre for Special Needs, Mind Institute and Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs.
The activities include various awareness and recreational activities for families. Some events also include free screening for children, various presentations, and educational and awareness lectures, designed to highlight what autism spectrum disorder is and how it affects individuals with the condition and their families.
Autism is a lifelong condition that affects how an individual communicates with others and how they perceive the world around them.