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Kuwait and Autism

Historical Background

As a mother of a child with autism, Dr. Samira Al-Saad was unable to enroll her child in the education system of Kuwait when she was diagnosed with autism in 1985. With lack of awareness and knowledge about autism in her country at that time, she decided to pursue her studies in autism in the USA and shift from her specialty in geology which cares for rocks and oil to autism. She was able to earn a master’s degree and PhD degree in the field of autism. The first class started at her home in 1988 and tried unsuccessfully to convince the educational authority to start a school for such handicapped. She moved to Saudi Arabia during the invasion of Kuwait where she started (1992) her second classes as an experimental model. After 2 years, she moved back to Kuwait, and, with the cooperation of the Public Endowment Foundation, she was able to establish the first integrated center for educating children with autism in the MENA region.

The program started with basic...


  • Down Syndrome
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Private School
  • Arabic Language
  • Toxic Trace Element

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Adolescent and adult psychoeducational profile


Applied behavior analysis


Assessment of basic language and learning skills – revised


Autism diagnostic observation schedule


Auditory integration training


Award scheme development and accreditation network


Diagnostic interview for social and communication disorders


Gilliam autism rating scale


Individualized educational plan


Middle East and North Africa


Pervasive developmental disorder


Psychoeducational profile – 3rd edition


TEACCH transition assessment profile

References and Reading

  • Al-Mohaisen, A. (2003). A daylighting and electric lighting study for the Kuwait Autism center project, A technical report submitted to Kuwait Engineering Consultants (KEG), Kuwait: Office of the Consultation and Career Development (OCCD), College of Engineering and Petroleum-Kuwait University.

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  • Al-Saad, S. (2000). Implementation of an educational program for children with autism: The case of Kuwait. International Journal of Mental Health, 29(2), Summer.

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  • Association American Psychiatric. (2002). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

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  • Fido, A., & Al-Saad, S. (2005). Toxic trace element in the hair from Autistic children. Autism (Journal of Sage Publications & NAS), 9(3), 287–296.

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  • State of Kuwait – Law number 8 in 2010 for (The rights of people with disabilities in Al-Kuwait) Al-Yawm, The Official Gazette, Issue No. 964, Dated 28 Feb 2010.

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  • The policy of inclusion: Law No. 13/96 – In Kuwait, the Kuwaiti government formed a policy of inclusion (law 13/96), adopted in (1996), which asserts that people with disabilities have a fundamental right to live and grow within their local communities, making Kuwait probably the only Gulf country to adopt such a policy as a law.

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Correspondence to Samira Al-Saad .

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© 2015 Springer Science+Business Media New York

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Al-Saad, S. (2015). Kuwait and Autism. In: Volkmar, F. (eds) Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Springer, New York, NY.

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