NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) is joining the global movement for the fourth consecutive year to raise awareness about autism. The dome of the University’s campus on Saadiyat will be lit blue throughout the month of April in a show of support for Autism Awareness Month.
The initiative came as part of a wider program conducted across Abu Dhabi – and the world - as the capital city’s most iconic buildings turned blue on Monday for World Autism Awareness Day 2018. On Saturday, April 14, NYUAD will also hold the 4th annual Autism Education Conference, which will bring together families touched by autism, leading professionals in the field, special educators, and supporters involved with the local autism community.
NYUAD Associate Director of Community Outreach Suparna Mathur said: "Since welcoming our first class in 2010, the University has been deeply committed to outreach and giving back to the Abu Dhabi and broader UAE community. It was been powerful to see both the number of student volunteers and community supporters grow each year to show our collective support for people of determination."
The University was a key venue for the 2018 Special Olympics MENA Games Abu Dhabi, and will additionally act as a host venue for the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019. The 2019 Games will invite over 7,000 Special Olympics athletes representing over 170 countries from around the world, further demonstrating NYUAD’s longstanding commitment to supporting global initiatives that raise awareness for the wider community.
"Not being directly affected by autism does not exempt one from being aware and educated regarding the autism community, its needs and its progress. I believe in the importance of engagement with people who are affected by it to cultivate greater inclusiveness and togetherness in the UAE," said Fatima Alaydaroos, Class of 2020.
NYUAD has conducted an annual month-long autism awareness campaign for four successive years. Through this initiative, 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; as well as Emirates Autism Society.