Launched by Dubai Autism Center in April 2022, Autism-Friendly Program (AFP) is the first initiative of its kind in the region that targets the role models of organizations in both Public and Private Sectors through various categories according to high international standards. The initiative also aims to encourage institutions to excel and set higher accessibility standards for individuals with Autism.
Dubai Autism Center presents an exciting and fast-moving effort to create “Autism Friendly” spaces in the United Arab of Emirates so that children and adults with autism can feel more supported and families can better enjoy visits to the theatre, restaurants, and even just going out for ice cream.
An exciting and fast moving effort is under way to create “Autism-Friendly” spaces so that children and adults with autism can feel more supported and families can better enjoy visits to the theatre, restaurants, and even just going out for ice cream. More businesses are tuning in to ways that they can provide welcoming spaces for individuals with autism: doctors’ offices, airports, grocery stores, and clothing stores are all finding ways to accommodate sensory needs and provide emotional support for all of their customers.
This program is designed to encourage more institutions to provide welcoming spaces for individuals with autism: doctors’ offices, airports, grocery stores, and clothing stores are all finding ways to accommodate sensory needs and provide emotional support for all of their customers.
“Autism-Friendly” essentially means:
• Accommodating sensory, communication, and social needs of individuals with ASD.
• Having staff trained to be aware of different needs and offer assistance and support.
• Reducing the amount of sensory stimuli so that individuals with autism can tolerate being in a space.
• Responding to feedback and suggestions from the autism community.
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