A visit by Autism Speaks leaders to an international forum in Doha, Qatar, has helped open discussions into an autism program in the tiny Mideast nation, one of the richest in the world.
Autism Speaks Co-founder Suzanne Wright and Vice President of Scientific Affairs Andy Shih spoke at the 2nd Annual International Forum in Doha, along with Priscilla Natkins, executive vice president at the Ad Council. The trio were invited by the Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs, under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nassar Al-Missnad, wife of His Highness the Emir of Qatar. View highlights of the 2nd Annual International Forum.
(Windows Media Video, ~3 minutes) “The cause of autism remains a mystery, there is no known cure, and experts disagree on what the best treatments are,” Wright told the gathering. Speaking of her own family's struggle to cope with the disorder, she added: “We had no idea that we were in the middle of an urgent global health crisis affecting tens of millions of individuals worldwide.”
Wright said that while there is no international prevalence data Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nassar Al-Missnad, center, looks at a painting by a student at the Shafallah Center, as Suzanne Wright, far right, and other forum attendees look on from around the world – autism strikes one in every 150 U.S. children – she noted that “in the U.S., autism does not discriminate by geography, class, or ethnicity. So we have reason to believe that these prevalence rates will be similar across the globe.”
Later,Hassan Ali bin Ali, chairman of the Shafallah Center, told the forum: “I am pleased to announce, that under the direction of Her Highness, Sheikha Mozah Nasser al-Misnad, we are to commence discussions with Mrs. Wright and her team with the aim of collaborating on an "Autism Speaks" program in Qatar which could extend to the region and beyond making "Autism Speaks" a world wide program. This important collaboration demonstrates that the work of the forum has indeed been a success.”
To learn more about Shafallah and the Forum please visit the website: www.shafallah.org.qa.