30 Apr 2018 – 9:25
DOHA: A series of community activities and events were hosted by Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI), part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), in April, as part of the institute’s diligent efforts to promote and endorse a better understating of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The ongoing, month-long public awareness campaign was in support of the 10th annual World Autism Awareness Day, which is marked worldwide in early April.
In several countries around the world (including Qatar), April is observed as the Autism Awareness Month. This year is particularly significant as it marks a full decade since World Autism Awareness Day was initially observed on April 2, 2008.
World Autism Awareness Day was first proposed by H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, to the United Nations in 2007 and was adopted without a vote by the UN General Assembly in 2008, garnering consensus from all member states.
Children who suffer from the disorder commonly demonstrate a range of symptoms that include difficulties with communication, social interaction, and restricted repetitive behaviors.
Speaking on QBRI’s efforts to increase public awareness on autism, Dr Omar El-Agnaf, Acting Executive Director of the institute, said, “QBRI is committed to driving solutions for many of Qatar’s (and the region’s) most pressing health challenges and transforming the healthcare of the Qatari population and the region.
“With good mental health within the country being a top priority, Autism is one of our areas of focus. Besides fostering progressiveness in research and training, QBRI also aims at supporting and recognising individuals with autism.”