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Saudi govt to bear cost of treating kids with autism, Down syndrome

The Ministry of Education would pay the fees in full for autistic children who are studying in private schools

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The Ministry of Social Affairs will bear the entire cost of treatment and rehabilitation of children with autism or Down syndrome at domestic care centers, an official source at the ministry has said.

The official, who did not want to be named, said in the past the ministry was bearing only half of the cost. He said: “There are about 6,000 children with severe disorders who are unable to benefit from education in the government or private schools.

“The ministry will pay the full cost of their rehabilitation in the special centers inside the Kingdom.”

The official made it clear that the ministry's offer will not include children who are taken for rehabilitation abroad.

“The ministry will bear the full cost of the rehabilitation of autistic and Down children in the day centers that are licensed,” he said.

He revealed the ministry had received SR250 million from the Finance Ministry to pay the rehabilitation costs.

The official said the Finance Ministry also expressed readiness to increase the allocation if more autistic children needed care.

He said the Ministry of Education would pay the fees in full for autistic children who are studying in private schools.

Meanwhile, Khaled Al-Thibaiti, official spokesman of the Social Affairs Ministry, said the ministry has so far handed over a total of 2,655 special cars to a number of eligible disabled children.

“We will supply our children with special needs with a total of 5,400 special cars to use in their transport,” he said.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah had given the ministry SR1.5 billion about four years ago to purchase special cars for children with special needs.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Sept. 18, 2014.

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