ABU DHABI // Schools and treatment centres must work together to integrate pupils with special needs, experts at a conference said yesterday.
Special education teachers from the Middle East and the UK gathered at Zayed University to discuss best practices to meet the academic goals of children with special needs.
The conference on inclusion, access and engagement is being hosted by the British Council and will end on March 21.
John Ayres, principal of the Eden Academy in the UK, said a collaboration between special needs centres and mainstream schools would produce the best results.
"The meshed system with a multiplicity of approaches is what has been applied in the UK for several years," he said. "It provides more flexibility and more access for children with special needs."
Social workers and inclusion coordinators said this was a challenge that needed to be addressed through standard policies for all schools.
Ashjan Saeed bin Sumaidaa, head of the inclusion department at Zayed Higher Organisation,said they had integrated more than 200 pupils since 2008 in Abu Dhabi Education Council schools.
"More and more children are being integrated in government schools through this partnership," she said.
"But we continue to faces problems in integration, especially because of the administrative hurdles of dealing with the Education Ministry or the Social Affairs ministry. Also a lot of private institutions are not very supporting yet."