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SR900m allocated for autism centers disappears in thin air

Saudi Arabia, November 13, 2017

More than three years ago, directives were issued by higher authorities allocating SR900 million to establish three autism centers in Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah but nothing was heard about the projects since then.

There were no announcements about the completion of the buildings or even the start of work on the projects, raising questions about the

disappearance of the projects and the funds allocated for them.

The dreams of more than 120,000 families with autistic children who were to benefit from the projects evaporated in thin air, according to Okaz newspaper, which investigated the failure to carry out the projects.

The families were anxiously waiting to see the centers completed so as to take care of their children especially in the light of the acute shortage of services being provided to this category of children in the Kingdom.

According to some sources, the title of the provision for the establishment of the autism centers was changed to the establishment of centers for the nervous system disorders, which cover more than 11 types of disabilities.

However, the question remains why the title of the title was changed without any explanation. The sources said the stoppage of the construction of the autism centers has prevented thousands of the autistic children from receiving care or treatment.

Their parents called for opening an official investigation into the disappearance of the allocations for the establishment of autism centers, which drove many of them to seek treatment for their children abroad incurring high costs.

The parents said there is an acute shortage of government-run clinics for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders within the country. They added that prices at private clinics are extremely exaggerated.