Saeed Al Khotani
RIYADH — Prince Saud Bin Abdullah Bin Thunayyan Al Saud, the Chairman of Saudi Basic Industries Company (Sabic) opened Tuesday night the Center for Autism Research headquartered at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center here.
“The unique partnership between Sabic and KFSHRC embodied in the SR45 million Sabic support to the establishment of the center which aims not only to respond to therapeutical needs of people affected by autism, but also to number of other goals,” he said.
“They include training and enhancing national capabilities to rehabilitate autism victims, conducing applied research, sharing knowledge, and building partnerships with specialized scientific circles in the world in this field,” he added.
The prince said this center is a type of projects that fits in Sabic’s vision of social responsibility that has no limit or border in covering all societal needs.
It is an example of a work that has a lasting effect that benefits the whole country.
Dr. Qasim Al-Qasabi, the Executive Supervisor General of Director KFSHRC, said the launch of the center is a turning point in the march to create effective scheme for autism research in the Kingdom, reminding that KFSHRC has got the expertise in the field of dealing with autism since it has discovered the first case of this disorder in the country.
Speaking to Saudi Gazette on the present situation of autism cases in the Kingdom, Dr. Rami Niyazi, the acting Director of the Center and researcher at KFSHRC, said that it is hard to give an exact figure. “But generally speaking and by applying the methodologies used in other communities in estimating the spread of this disorder, we can say roughly that we have over 200,000 cases,” he said.
“Advances in genetics research on this disorder have shown that more than 100 genes are involved in causing it, so it still a mystery knowing what exactly cause. So, we hope that this Center will contribute effectively in dealing with discovered cases, and contribute in solving its mystery, “ he said, referring to the factor that might cause this disorder in the Kingdom.
He said that the center is using the most advanced approaches and methodologies of diagnosis and therapy in dealing with Autism through well qualified and trained Saudi and expatriate staff.