To celebrate Autism Awareness Month, the Emirate College for Advanced Education (ECAE) hosted its 9th Annual Autism Day conference on April 26 at its campus Hub in Abu Dhabi, to raise social awareness of students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as explore the future learning opportunities and best learning practices for current and future educators.

Since 2015, the ECAE has hosted this annual event with the aim of engaging the UAE community to promote awareness and acceptance of individuals with ASD. The 9th Annual Autism Day conference brought together leading experts on ASD education and social care, ECAE staff and science faculty, and educational stakeholders who are aligned and committed to transforming education for future generations to come.  

Speaking at the event, Dr. May Al Taee, Vice Chancellor at ECAE said: “The celebration of World Autism Awareness Day is an opportunity to shed light on ASD and highlight the importance of accepting persons with autism. Equally, we are here to celebrate the strengths of learners with ASD, while looking at new ways to empower our education system to better accommodate and support these learners now and into the future.” 

An important aspect of the conference focuses on highlighting learning opportunities for both current teachers looking to further their educational knowledge of ASD and learners with ASD educational opportunities in the field of STEM. With the ECAE’s access to the latest data and technological solutions, the College aims to empower educators within the UAE by creating a pool of talented professionals equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to empower future generations.   

During an interactive session, students with ASD from the MRC-NECC conducted science experiments in the ECAE Science Labatories to gain a better understanding of the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in action. This year’s conference included English and Arabic programs for students, educators and educational leaders, featuring key speakers and presenters such as Nipa Bhuptani, an Autism and ABA Consultant based in Abu Dhabi who discussed the strengths of people with ASD in STEM, and Khawla Barley, Head of Initiatives at Special Olympics UAE, providing a showcase of the Unified Robotics program in UAE schools. Science staff and faculty from the ECAE and MRC-NECC shared an overview of collaborative projects that have been conducted between the two institutions, before a panel discussion focusing on ASD and employment opportunities in the STEM fields concluded the conference.

During Autism Month and beyond, the ECAE remains committed to fostering collaboration and partnerships with local and international stakeholders in order to invest in future-ready educators. By working together, the ECAE aims to ensure that the education system is prepared to meet future challenges. Working with key partners, such as the MRC-NECC, the Special Olympics UAE and Applied & Behavioral Training Institute (ABTI) and the Emirates Schools Establishment (ESE), the conference brings together leading voices and institutions within the UAE. By offering educational programs, such as the ECAE award-winning vocational internship from MRC-NECC, the ECAE aims to prepare the next generations by prioritizing academic excellence. 

The ECAE will help prepare the next generations by prioritizing academic excellence and leading educational transformation.  Through conferences such as these, the ECAE prepares future-ready educators who are committed to lifelong learning, building resilience for the UAE and transforming the future of education through collaboration and innovation that harnesses the past and ignites the future.