x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Parents of special needs children 'have few options'

Parents of children with special needs have few options, report says.

DUBAI //Parents of children with special education needs have few options, according to the latest report released by the authority.

Most schools lack an inclusive policy to accommodate physical and learning disabilities, highlights the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB) 2011 report. According to the document, parents find it hard to place children in high performing schools, particularly if their needs are complex. The process adopted by most schools results in parents facing widespread rejection.

"This will be an important factor that inspectors will take into consideration while ranking schools next year," said Jameela Al Muhairi, the chief of DSIB. "Schools will be assessed on how they individualise programmes for a range of special education needs."

The report said even if parents find an inclusive school, they often have to rely on teachers who may not be qualified to identify their child's problem.

Carolina Tovar, the director of the Child Early Intervention Medical Centre in Dubai, said the emphasis by the authority on special education in schools had begun to have an effect. "We are seeing more schools welcome children with special needs," she said.

Ms Tovar, who has started working with Gems schools and Raffles International School in Dubai, said more training was required to develop support staff.

However, she admitted that such schools were few and far between.

aahmed@thenational.ae