The Permanent Delegation of Qatar to the United Nations has organised, in partnership with the Shafallah Centre; Mada Centre for Assistive Technology; the Health and Human Technology Department at the Faculty of Engineering and Science at Hamad Bin Khalifa University; and the Qatar Foundation for Social Work, a panel discussion on how technology can help people with autism, on the sidelines of the 12 session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Qatar had a significant and effective presence in the session, which was held at United Nations Headquarters in New York (11-13 June).
The panel discussion sought to highlight the means by which technology could assist in supporting people with autism in education and the workplace to ensure non-discrimination and facilitate their full and effective participation.
The panel highlighted Qatar's pioneering role in facilitating access to technology in order to help people with autism and people with disabilities through research and support from the participating organisations.
HE the Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations Sheikha Alya Ahmed bin Saif al-Thani, stressed Qatar's belief in supporting people suffering from autism to enjoy a happy, healthy and independent life within their communities.
She pointed that Qatar is the only country in the region with a national plan for people with autism and is one of the few countries with a working day for persons with disabilities.
Her Excellency also pointed out that, in December 2019, Qatar will host the International Conference on the Comprehensive Development of Persons with Disabilities.
For her part, CEO of Qatar Foundation for Social Work Amal al-Mannai, called for improving national policies and laws to support technology for people with autism, stressing the importance of providing assistive technology products and ensuring the creation of barrier-free environments.
Al-Mannai also called for encouraging scientific research and development of assistive technology, stressing the importance of developing the skills and abilities of people with autism and raising awareness of their families about the importance of assistive technology.
She urged investment in the field of assistive technology, stressing the importance of monitoring a percentage of sustainable development programs for people with special needs, including those with autism.
Executive Director of 'Mada' Centre for Assistive Technology, Maha al-Mansouri, reviewed the centre's services in the development of assistive technology and offered a number of solutions to help develop the skills of people with autism, including language assistance through the 'Mada' Innovation programme, to enable equal opportunities for the participation of people with autism and people with disabilities in the digital community.
She said that services and consultations aimed at developing skills and achieving equality in education and employment opportunities are not limited to Qatar but include the Arab world.
For her part, Sheikha Dr Dina Ahmed bin Saif al-Thani, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Engineering and Science of Hamad Bin Khalifa University, reviewed the development of technology and its impact on human health.
She addressed, in particular, how technology develops and adapts to people with autism targeting education, skills improvement and elimination of social barriers for people with autism.
A number of experts took part the panel discussion.
The delegation of Qatar participated in a number of panel discussions held on the sidelines of the 12th session of the Conference of the States Parties.