Qatar and Autism
Similar to most countries within the region, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) awareness and programming in Qatar have been changing rapidly throughout the past years. Despite ASD being recognized by medical professionals and cases are detected at an estimated similar rate to international trends, ASD was not documented as a separate disability category in Qatar’s national statistics until 2012 (Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics 2013). Nonetheless, the country’s leadership has shown special interest in ASD as there is a recognition of its growing prevalence and the need to provide services for the affected individuals and their families. Hence, on April 2, 2008, Qatar officially joined the United Nations in announcing April 2 as the world’s “Autism Awareness Day”; an event which was proposed to the UN by Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser (United Nations Meetings Coverage and Press Releases 2008). Yet, ASD and general special needs services were...
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