Children, parents and teachers in Northern Emirates schools benefit from autism roadshow

Ministry of Community Development organises three-day event with Image National Abu Dhabi to boost understanding of the condition.

Pupils in Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Sharjah learn about the lives of autistic people during a roadshow last month. Courtesy Seven Media
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FUJAIRAH // Pupils in three emirates learnt about autism during a three-day roadshow organised by the Ministry of Community Development and Image Nation Abu Dhabi.

At three public schools in Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Fujairah, specialists held lectures and workshops for schoolchildren, teachers and parents. Teachers were issued copies of AS ONE: The Autism Project, a documentary film for use as a learning tool.

The roadshow was part of Autism Awareness Month last month and the Year of Giving.

Sharifa Yateem, the UAE’s only Emirati applied behavioural analyst and lead specialist for the documentary, led the workshops.

“I was honoured to take the workshops to schools in the UAE and teach children what it means to have autism and how they can interact with children who have it,” she said.

”Since the film was released it has been an instrumental tool in raising awareness of autism in the UAE and across the globe.”

The documentary was filmed in the UAE to provide insights into autism. It focuses on the children, parents and teachers involved in The Autism Project, a theatrical and musical programme where 10 autistic children from various backgrounds gather to put on a musical production for friends and family.

Autistic people have difficulties communicating and forming relationships.

“The Ministry of Community Development exerts great effort to rehabilitate and fully integrate autistic patients into Emirati society,” said Sana Mohammed Sohil, the undersecretary at the ministry.

“The ministry dedicates special attention to educating parents and society in general about the nature of the disease and to circulating the correct and scientific methods of working with autistic patients, especially children.”

The ministry launched an app, Connection, which aims to strengthen communication with autistic people. The ministry also plans to sign an agreement with Abu Dhabi University to launch the Autism Diploma Programme.

It recently launched Nomow – or growth – the first Arab app for early autism intervention, which is available for download for Apple and Android phones.

AS ONE: The Autism Project is also available to rent or download on iTunes. For more information on the film visit