Autism Awareness on the Rise in the United Arab Emirates

Abu DhabiAbu DhabiAbu Dhabi, UAE – Mariam Al Tunaiji  has a son, Mayed aged 9, with autism. She has been advocating for her son since his diagnosis of ASD.  Her goal was to have Mayed  attended kindergarten in a mainstream school.

The National states that from an early age, Mayed’s  uncle noticed ‘dysfunctional behaviour’ exhibited by his nephew, from the age of one and an half.

After numerous tests, including an MRI scan, that proved inconclusive, a medical professional recommended that they should take Mayed  to Kuwait because of the increased cases of autism. It was here that a psychiatrist diagnosed him with moderate autism. However the  medication medication prescribe caused drowsiness.

“It was disheartening to see my son suffer. I’d rather die than see him like this. Each psychiatrist recommended another. Where do I go with this innocent soul,”

It was at this time that a friend, whose son has autism, suggested that they visit the  New England Centre for Children in Abu Dhabi.

Chief clinical officer at the centre, Dr Dan Gould, says that the true number of cases of autism in the UAE is not known.

 “By the year 2020 there will be approximately 1,655 children in the capital alone of an appropriate age for a specialised autism programme.”

Sadly, the centre had no space for her son. However she  approached Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyanand asked him to help get her son admitted, which he did.  Mayed joined the New England Centre at the age of 6 years and his life has been radically changed for the better.

To read the full story in The National, please visit the website here