World Special Olympics hosted by Abu Dhabi could be a tipping point for a more all-inclusive society, as hoped by the parents of determined children and specialists from this field. It might create a new trend for the 7500 athletes from 190 countries – all of them are specially abled persons. They would be taking the centre stage and display their sporting skills throughout the event that is going to be held from 14th to 21st March. Layan Juma, occupational therapist at Stars for Special Abilities and Early Intervention Centre in Abu Dhabi, stated that all-encompassing would be the star.
When people would be going for the Special Olympics, they are not just going to watch the athletes. They are going to mix with them. It would help in changing the perception of people.
Juma stated that in the past nine years of her practice, she has seen parents who are hesitant to acknowledge and accept that their children are specially-abled. Hence she feels that Special Olympics would give a strong message of inclusion.
She stated that inclusion is not about labeling kids, it’s about accepting the kids. It is what she wants to tell to the parents.
According to a study on regional disabilities perception instructed by the Local Organizing Committee for the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, in association with Special Olympics Middle East and North Africa office, more people are becoming aware of government drives in the UAE compared to other social facets such as divorce and unemployment.
The study which has been titled ‘Regional Perceptions and Determined Aspirations’, carried out across eight nations in the Middle East, found that the UAE government is excelling in the disability support in the Middle East and North Africa region.
One of the findings from the study stated that the Gulf nations are making the way for a more hospitable work environment for people who suffer from intellectual disabilities.
The study suggested that education as well as workplace environment should be more comprehensive and auxiliary communities for parents and caregivers of people with disabilities should be developed.