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Research into disability numbers in pipeline.

Summary: Research on the number of people with disabilities in the emirate could soon be underway.

Research on the number of people with disabilities in the emirate could soon be underway.

The chief executive of the Al Jalila Foundation Dr Abdulkareem Sultan Al Olama, which promotes medical research, said they had had a recent meeting with the Dubai Statistics Centre who were "very interested" in conducting the research.

The meeting had come about as the number of people with special needs and disabilities in the country was growing, anecdotal evidence suggests. Al Olama said it was hard to know whether this was "a very healthy sign" due to greater awareness, or whether other environmental factors were involved in the increaesed diagnoses.

Some estimates pitted global numbers of developmental disorders as high as one in six, though other estimates are as low as one in 1,000. On the most conservative reading, at least 8,200 people in the country have special needs.

"I think one in six is very scary but they are talking about any disability, even a child with glasses. I think statstically people are saying one in 55 now, which again is a high number but I think through education, through training and the right agencies, we'll be able to train (people with special needs)."

While no agreement had yet been penned, he was hopeful work would begin soon.

"We hope Dubai Statistical Centre will come and check what's going on, at least in Dubai."

The research would require qualified medical specialists to help phrase questionaires to ensure accurate data, he said.

The foundation raised Dh20 million during Ramadan. The goal of the infant organisation, set up last November by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is to raise Dh100 million this year.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Aug 19, 2013
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