The Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) has launched the “Abu Dhabi Early Intervention Guide” as a part of the Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination 2020-2024 to provide an important resource that outlines the early intervention services available for families and caregivers and their children with development delays or disabilities in Abu Dhabi.

Released in collaboration with the Mubadala Investment Company, the Department of Community Development- Abu Dhabi, the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, the Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination, and the Abu Dhabi Public Health Center, the Guide is part of the ECA's ongoing efforts to promote the welfare of children including people of determination in Abu Dhabi and enhance early detection of  developmental challenges to support children receiving appropriate and timely intervention services.

Designed to support and enable children with a developmental delay or disability, the Guide gives parents and caregivers key information that they need to provide children with specialised and ongoing support at an early age, as well as guidelines on the intervention services available to help children grow, develop and reach their full potential. Such intervention addresses the health and wellbeing of children and the needs of their families by focusing on four key areas of child development - physical development; cognitive development; behavioural development; and social and emotional development. The Guide is available in both Arabic and English at the ECA’s website .  

H.E. Eng.Thamer Rashed Al Qasimi, Executive Director of Special Projects & Partnerships Sector at the ECA, said: “The Abu Dhabi Early Intervention Guide is designed to meet the needs of parents and caregivers in dealing with developmental delays and disabilities in children, giving them key information to help them support those children who have developmental delays or disabilities of any kind. As early intervention services contribute effectively to the development of children's abilities and skills and reduce the impact of disabilities on their growth and development, they enhance children's ability to integrate into society and achieve better results in their future lives.”

The Guide supports the implementation of Abu Dhabi's strategy of fully including people of determination through promoting holistic support for child development and positioning Abu Dhabi as a global centre for early childhood development. As a comprehensive, evidence-based resource designed to help parents identify if their child needs additional support, such as speech therapy or occupational therapy based on their developmental age and stage, the Abu Dhabi Early Intervention Guide provides parents with details on the services available

“We work with our partners on ensuring constant improvement and development of early intervention services to fulfill children various needs. Early childhood intervention is based on preventative, multidisciplinary approaches from which the services provided by the partners are derived, and whose effectiveness is directly related to the early detection of disabilities or developmental delays. The first five years of a child’s life are critical in terms of development and learning. The first three years, during which the child undergoes rapid development, are also of particular importance,” Al Qasimi added.

For her side, H.E. Dr. Layla Al Hyas, Executive Director of the Community Development Sector at DCD, said: "The Abu Dhabi Early Intervention Guide, which was launched by ECA in collaboration with various stakeholders, comes under the umbrella of the Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination 2020-2024. This strategy serves as a comprehensive and integrated roadmap combining efforts of Abu Dhabi's various entities and sectors, with the aim of promoting the quality of life for POD and addressing challenges limiting their integration into society."

According to Al Hyas, issuing the guide is a reflection of the strategy's health and rehabilitation pillar achievements. The guide enables families and caregivers access the needed information and services to support children of determination and those with developmental delays during their early childhood. She also indicated the importance of early intervention in supporting children’s development and education, as well as enabling them reach full potential.

Al Hyas affirmed the DCD's commitment to working with various partners to develop an integrated care system for POD and their families in Abu Dhabi, thus ensuring their access to quality rehabilitative, educational, social, and early intervention services.

On the other hand, H.E. Abdulla Ismail Al Kamali, Executive Director of ZHO's People of Determination Sector, said: “I would like to commend the crucial role played by the Abu Dhabi Early Intervention Guide in building a tolerant and all-encompassing society through support for cohesive families and those children that need special care.”

“The ZHO is committed to working with government and private entities to provide best-in-class services to people of determination and their families. This ensures their assimilation into mainstream society and contributes to sustainable development in line with our mandate and the directives of our wise leadership,” he added.

Homaid Al Shimmari, Deputy Group CEO and Chief Corporate & Human Capital Officer of Mubadala Investment Company, said: “Mubadala prioritizes young people by equipping them with the necessary resources to secure a long-term, successful future. In line with this program and our commitment to make a positive impact on local communities, we are proud to partner with ECA on the development of this Guide.”

The ultimate goal of the Abu Dhabi Early Intervention guide is to ensure that parents and care givers can enable children with development delays or disabilities to thrive and reach their full potential by emphasizing the critical importance of early intervention and  and directing parents to child and family friendly services. Early intervention support may include training and educational programs, therapeutic rehabilitation, physiotherapy, functional therapy, speech therapy, psychological care, and family support services, sport activities, or a combination of some or all of these approaches.