New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) has become a part of the global #LightItUpBlue initiative for the third consecutive year as part of the University’s month-long campaign to raise awareness about autism. The dome of the University’s campus will be lit blue throughout the month of April in a show of support for Autism Awareness Month.
As part of this campaign, NYUAD will also host the screening of the documentary film As One* on April 18. The film, produced by Image Nation Abu Dhabi, tells the story of a group of autistic children from diverse backgrounds in the UAE who are part of The Autism Project - an initiative by HH Sheikha Shamsa bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to raise awareness of autism in the country.
The film reaches out to the wider community and spreads awareness about the condition with the aim to help facilitate a more conducive social environment for those with autism.
In addition, the University will host the third annual Autism Education Conference* on April 29. The conference will gather families touched by autism, leading professionals in the field, special educators and volunteers who work closely with the local autism community to strengthen the network and enable further collaboration for the cause.
NYUAD Associate Director of Community Outreach Suparna Mathur said: "It has been so powerful and rewarding to see a growing community join us at NYU Abu Dhabi each year to show their collective support for families touched by autism. We are grateful to our community-based partners who empower us to lead meaningfully to give back and play our part in working towards a more socially inclusive society."
Student Lead for the 2017 Autism Awareness Month and NYUAD Class of 2019 student Sally Oh said: "Autism does not belong to just a small group of people; acceptance, support, and education for autism belongs to everyone who is a part of the community, of the world. That is why it is important to work for meaningful causes such as autism awareness, especially within a school campus filled with young people who will soon become the driving force of our world. "
NYUAD has conducted an annual month-long autism awareness campaign for three successive years. By hosting such events, the University seeks to highlight the need for increased acceptance and education around autism, which sees high prevalence rates in the UAE.
NYUAD works closely with valued community-based partner organizations: Autism Support Network - Abu Dhabi (ASN); Goals UAE; UAE-ABA chapter; and Emirates Autism Society for various other activities.