- Robust feedback mechanism in place to collect opinion from all stakeholders
- Focus on creating disable-friendly environment for the UAE
The Community Development Authority (CDA) said it is working towards widening the co-operation between major entities across Dubai to achieve the target to make the city autism-friendly at a faster pace.
Dr Sheikha Alia Al Qassimi, Social Development expert for People of Determination (PODs) at Dubai government’s Community Development Authority said, “Our efforts are more focused on the feedback we receive from the community, especially children, parents, focus groups and other stakeholders. It is a constant ongoing process.” She was peaking at the Knowledge Hub, being held as part of the AccessAbilities Expo, organised under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group.
The Expo is organised by Nadd Al Shiba PR & Events Management.
“Many a times the feedback we receive is based on common experiences. However, each department comes up with completely different feedback. We process the recommendations, analyse and give our own recommendation and feedback. The idea is to make all our policies and guidelines relevant, based on the experiences, and focused on creating an environment for the whole country which is disable-friendly,” she said.
Explaining the ongoing initiatives she said, “We are constantly evaluating the facilities at the buildings and overall progress. We have tied up with various entities and are training their staff and giving recommendations in an effort to reintegrate PODs into society and make them suitable,” she added.
Mohammad Al Hajajji, Secretary of Empowering People of Determination at Dubai Police says the department has taken all steps to ensure that PODs enjoy a seamless experience both at public places and across all Dubai Police premises.
“At Dubai Police we have created a checklist of what all needs to be done. All police personnel are trained to deal with PODs be it at the airport or public places, and in a most caring and appropriate manner. We have created a series of facilities both in terms of infrastructure as well as services. We have interpreters and translators in sign language,” said Al Hajajji. According to him, Dubai Police has been working towards facilitating an autism-friendly community.
“In association with the CDA, we have successfully converted all buildings of Dubai Police as disabled-friendly. We have managed to create an environment where, from the time they enter the building, they are in an environment where their mobility, interaction and support is taken care of. We also believe that we need to focus on humans and not buildings,” he added.
According to him, Dubai stands at the forefront of disabled friendliness. “As envisaged by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the emirate needs to be in the No. 1 position in all aspects of human development,” he said, adding that at Dubai police the leadership understands that it is easy to reach the top but it is more important to consistently retain that position.
Fatma Taher, Manager, Government Agenda, Dubai Airports said Dubai being one of the world’s busiest international hubs has also taken measures to make the facility comfortable and convenient for PODs.
Recently, Dubai Airports also signed an MoU with the Dubai Autism Centre (DAC) to make it more accessible and inclusive for people with determination. “We want all sections of society to enjoy their travel experience, and we are committed to ensure that this is the same or even better for PODs at both Dubai International (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC),” she said.
DXB has also introduced a range of features for POD travellers, including a travel planner for pre-travel preparation and an Autism Friendly Route, offering a prioritised route for check-in, passport control, security checkpoints and boarding. The airport will also have specially trained Guest Experience Ambassadors and employees who can be identified by sunflower pins on their uniforms.
dnata is also offering a 20 per cent discount to all POD travellers on the DUBZ service, where check-in bags are picked up from passengers’ homes.