Abu Dhabi

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination, the 12th edition of the International Conference on Autism Research Updates, titled "Challenges and Solutions," kicked off

Al-Hamedan: Autism Spectrum Disorder represents a real challenge facing the modern world.
Announcement of the launch of the first specialized scientific journal in autism research.

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination, the 12th edition of the International Conference on Autism Research Updates, titled "Challenges and Solutions," kicked off today (Saturday) at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates. The conference is organized in collaboration and coordination with ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), and Lotus Holistic Abu Dhabi, and will continue until April 30th.

The organization of this conference aims to raise awareness about autism spectrum disorder and maximize the benefit from practical research and studies presented during the conference, which is held in Abu Dhabi for the second consecutive year. It includes approximately 20 sessions to present and discuss the latest developments in autism research, 41 workshops, and 91 lectures covering various thematic areas (biology, medicine, and behavioral sciences), as well as a number of dialogue sessions with parents and decision-makers. More than 100 speakers from over 20 countries specializing in behavioral modification, biomedicine, and its updates are participating, with simultaneous translation into three languages (Arabic, Russian, and English).

Abdullah Al-Hamdan, the Secretary-General of Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination, stated that the organization of this conference for the second consecutive year in Abu Dhabi builds upon the success of the previous edition, aiming to continue the achievements in the care and rehabilitation of various categories of people with disabilities, especially those with autism spectrum disorder. He expressed hope that these successes would be sustained through this global gathering, where experiences are exchanged, fruitful experiments are presented, and various topics are objectively and scientifically discussed, enriching the experiences and expertise of all participants and specialists in this field to support the development of services and methods of care and rehabilitation for children, youth, and adults with autism spectrum disorder.

During his speech at the opening session of the conference, he emphasized that autism spectrum disorder represents a real challenge facing the modern world, and its severity has escalated to a point where addressing this problem requires the concerted efforts of all stakeholders, from scientific institutions to national and international bodies, to parents. He pointed out that autism spectrum disorder is a comprehensive disability that affects many aspects of individuals affected by it, and combating its spread and treating it requires a multidimensional approach, starting with a support system for those affected from childhood, requiring a comprehensive intervention from a multidisciplinary team, continuous and united to deal with multiple aspects and dimensions. He stressed that building this support system can only be achieved after raising awareness, educating, and informing families, scientists, practitioners, and specialists from all different disciplines to create an inclusive and enabling society for this group.

Abdullah Al-Hamedan expressed his wishes to derive useful and impactful recommendations in the field of caring for individuals with autism and discovering more treatment methods to achieve the desired goals in assisting this group and their families, aiming to provide the best means of treatment. He thanked ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), Lotus Holistic Abu Dhabi, and all institutions for their cooperation in organizing the conference, as well as the sponsoring institutions, organizers, and working teams.

Dr. Noura Khamees Al Ghaithi, Deputy CEO of the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), emphasized the importance of scientific research and collective work, including genetic research that helps us identify various genetic factors and mutations associated with autism spectrum disorder, and understanding them more deeply. She stressed the development of effective diagnostic methods, early interventions, appropriate care methods through investment in technology and modern facilities, provision of the latest treatments, and development of knowledge in the field of behavioral modification and educational materials, working in collaboration with specialists and experts from around the world.

During her speech at the opening session, she highlighted the efforts of the Abu Dhabi Public Health Center, affiliated with the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, in cooperation with partners in a range of initiatives and programs aimed at supporting individuals with autism spectrum disorders and raising awareness about the disease. These efforts include conducting research and studies, continuous updating of standards for regular visits for children, scheduled examinations to detect their health and growth, starting immediately after birth until the age of 6, as early detection and intervention play a key role in improving the quality of life for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

Dr. Amani Al Hashimi, Acting Director-General of the Government Talent Directorate at the Government Empowerment Department, highlighted the department's efforts, under the wise leadership and vision of His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, to launch projects and initiatives that support this cherished group, aiming to fully integrate them positively and benefit from their exceptional capabilities to contribute to the building and advancement of society. She mentioned the department's implementation of an integrated employment policy, as part of its efforts to accelerate the organization of supported employment services dedicated to people with disabilities and provided guidance and cognitive awareness to empower entities to adapt the physical and social environment to meet the requirements of this cherished group, creating a friendly and positive work environment for them.

In her opening speech, she added: "Through the proceedings of the 12th consecutive International Conference on Autism Research, we aim for this conference to be a real opportunity to synergize efforts in implementing a comprehensive approach that works on integrating people with disabilities and harnessing all possibilities for early detection of children affected by autism spectrum disorders. This enables us to intervene early and integrate them into the new education system, which positively impacts the child's healthy development and prepares them to participate in the community development process."

Dr. Abdulhamid Abdulhay, Executive Committee Member and Chairman of the Media Committee of the conference affirmed that the conference management has extended invitations to all relevant official and private entities to strategically participate in this event held in our beloved capital, Abu Dhabi. The goal is to deliberate and reach new solutions for integrating our children with autism into our society, allowing them to participate alongside their peers in schools, continue their higher education studies, and contribute positively to their families and communities.

He stated, "Our goals are ambitious, but we are confident that together, we can collaborate to achieve the recommendations of this conference." He expressed gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination, for his gracious patronage of the conference for the second consecutive year, and to the management of the organization for their cooperation in organizing the conference to make it a platform for advanced research and a means to treat individuals with autism.

The opening session featured a poetic recitation by poet Mohammed Abdullah bin Hassouh Al Zhanahani titled "Great Efforts." Additionally, the talented student Ahmed Al Hashimi, who is affected by autism and has participated in numerous internal and external activities, presented a musical composition composed specifically for the conference. Professor Anthony E. Davis, Editor-in-Chief of the Autism Journal, announced the release of the inaugural issue of the journal. Furthermore, a documentary film about the services of Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination for individuals with autism was screened.

Conference Objectives:
- Providing initial knowledge in the theory and practice of autism therapy to the international community.
- Accelerating the dissemination of new, effective, and safe medical and educational measures to assist individuals with autism.
- Showcasing innovative research and achievements in biomedical sciences that may help meet various needs in autism.
- Presenting the results of the pilot phase of a unique experimental project for teaching children with autism based on an innovative model of comprehensive education for children with special cognitive needs.
- Utilizing the best international practices and the latest research.

The conference also aims to achieve a strong educational mission through extensive conference participation and wide media coverage, forming working groups to implement international projects in research and clinical practice. Moreover, discussing methods and approaches for implementing some of these results in international practice, and identifying a starting point for developing biomedical research in search of clinical diagnosis methods for autism and autism intervention approaches.

Key Conference Topics:
The conference covers several important and vital topics, including comorbidities and neurology of autism spectrum disorder, social and economic aspects of autism, education of children with autism (early intervention, childhood, adolescence, youth, employment), diagnosis methods, potential biomarkers, testing protocols and measures, and behavioral sciences of autism.

Additionally, the conference addresses community building and the role of experts, professionals, and parents in supporting children with autism, organizing keynote lectures and seminars to achieve knowledge sharing, allocating training courses for practitioners, raising community awareness of autism, and preparing legal materials to protect individuals with autism.
Page Last Update: 29 April 2024
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