AUCD, Four UCEDDs, and Two LENDs Host Representatives from the Community Development Authority in Dubai

July 5, 2013

Throughout the week of June 24th, AUCD and four University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) and two Leadership in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LENDs) Programs had the pleasure of hosting three representatives from the Community Development Authority (CDA) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  The guests included H.E. Khalid Mohammed Ali Al Kamda, Director General of the CDA; Dr. Bushra Al Mulla, Director of Social Care and Inclusion Department; and Dr. Hussain Maseeh, Social Care Expert.  The goal of the weeklong tour was to observe an array of service programs, hold discussions with AUCD member leaders, staff and individuals with disabilities, and to learn about the various service systems in the US that support persons with disabilities in the community. The three Dubai social service leaders were particularly interested in the areas of early intervention, adult services and supports for employment, assistive technology and accessibility for people with disabilities.

Over the course of their time in the United States, they visited the cDuring each of these visits, H.E. Al Kamda, Dr. Bushra, and Dr. Maseeh were engaged in several meetings, tours, and demonstrations to promote the exchange of information and ideas about exemplary practices in early intervention, as well as person-centered and family-centered community services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including employment, housing, assistive technology and self-determination.

After visiting the four university centers, the visitors concluded their visit with a day at the AUCD central office meeting with technical assistance and policy staff.  AUCD staff and guests, Chas Mosely, Associate Executive Director of the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disability Services (NASDDDS) and Renee Pietrangelo, Chief Executive Officer of the American Network of Community Options and Resources were treated to a presentation by the Dubai visitors on their future plans for making Dubai accessible and welcoming to people with disabilities by based  principles of universal design and information that they obtain from other countries and disability experts.  The day concluded with a discussion of state systems in the US and the non-profit service providers in this country and the challenges that they face in moving toward a more person and family centered approach to address the needs of children and adults with disabilities and their families. Guests, visitors and AUCD staff concluded with a commitment to stay in touch and discuss possible ways of working with and assisting each other. All felt that the visit proved to be both valuable and insightful for all parties involved.  AUCD looks forward to continuing this connection between disability advocates in the United States and Dubai.

Dubai Visitors

Photos clockwise from the top left: Staff of the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University with guests from Dubai; Guests from Dubai and staff of Westchester Institute on Human Development; Staff of the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities with guests from Dubai; Anthony Antosh, EdD, Director of the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities, with guests from Dubai; AUCD staff proudly accept a memento from the Community Development Authority (CDA) to commemorate our visit with guests from Dubai; AUCD staff and guests from Dubai in a meeting to exchange ideas and information about services for people with disabilities.