INTRODUCTION TO AUTISM-FRIENDLY PROGRAM (AFP)
With the increasing awareness of the high prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that would be close to 1:36 in some communities. Today, the need of Autism-friendly environments in the Middle East region become more important than anytime before. Yet, there are many organizations in the region strive to seeking sustainable solutions to become more “autism-friendly” by making adjustments to their existing services. As a result, Dubai Autism Center has adapted to this demand by helping organizations to be more accessible to individual with Autism and by awarding the qualified ones as Autism-Friendly Certified organizations.
Hence, in accordance with the Decree No (26) of 2021, issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, regarding the autism awareness objectives of Dubai Autism Center which support the goals of the National Autism Policy, and contribute to embodying the vision of transforming Dubai into a friendly city for people of determination, the Dubai Autism Center announced the launch of Autism-Friendly Program (AFP) in September 2022 to be the first initiative of its kind in the region.
The program aims to train organizations in public and private sectors and recognize the role models as Autism-friendly organizations within a systematic and continuous process of comparison, measurement, learning and continuous development and encourage innovation in embracing higher accessibility standards for individuals with autism and ensure that people with autism have access to the services they seek in various sectors, just like others.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why it is important to be an Autism-Friendly environment?
When you ensure you have an autism friendly environment, it is not only the right thing to do in terms of helping people; it is also a good practice. When your organization provides an autism friendly approach to serving its clientele or customers, it:
- Is providing a user-friendly experience for a large demographic group. One child in 44 is now diagnosed with autism and the average family size is four people. Nationwide, close to 12 million people each day are impacted by autism and will engage businesses that are autism friendly on both a local and national level.
- Is appreciated by others who are not impacted by autism. Such individuals view your organization as being more responsive and community minded. Additionally, many of the accommodations made to become autism friendly directly benefit other non-autistic impacted individuals. Many benefit from changes like lowered noise levels, lighting which is not too bright, and reduced wait times.
What is the process to be certified as Autism-Friendly environment by Dubai Autism Center?
To be certified,
- organizations will need to meet certain criteria in terms of space arrangements.
- Our specialists will provide to the frontline staff trainings about Autism and about how they can specifically deal with individuals with Autism in working environment.
- Our specialists will make a field visits with a checklist to ensure all criteria have been met.
- Finally, our secret evaluators (Families with their children with Autism) will visit the place and provide Dubai Autism Center with their feedback.
- For more information, please contact us.
How will Dubai Autism Center support me?
Our team will support you on your autism-friendly journey by:
- Providing Autism Awareness Training to staff
- Reviewing your organisation’s actions and your long-term commitments
- Awarding the Autism-Friendly designation once certain objectives agreed by both parties are met
- Supporting your organisation’s communication of your commitment to becoming autism-friendly to the public, including media appearances agreed by both parties
- Ongoing implementation support
- Secret evaluators from our students and their families , if applicable
- Consultancy services to advance your autism-friendly measures, as required