x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Special-needs children set for mainstream schools in UAE

Dr Abdulkareem Al Olama, the chief executive of Al Jalila Foundation, said it has partnered with the Knowledge and Human Development Authority to identify eight to 10 schools that can each take eight to 10 special-needs pupils.

DUBAI // Plans are under way to include as many as 100 children with special needs in mainstream schools.

Dr Abdulkareem Al Olama, the chief executive of Al Jalila Foundation, said it has partnered with the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) to identify eight to 10 schools that can each take eight to 10 special-needs pupils.

“It is very important to get these children in regular school with other children if we are going to have any chance of enveloping them into society,” Dr Al Olama said.

“Teachers are afraid to interact with special-needs children. We aim to implement a teacher-training programme to give them the tools they need to care for special-needs children.”

The programme will take a teacher and a monitor from each of the selected schools to train.

“We want this teacher to be able to pass on the knowledge gained from the training to other teachers at their school. The monitor will keep track of the children’s progress and come up with a programme to suit the needs of each child,” he said.

“They need to be able to identify what they are good at and make them excel at it, while helping them overcome what they have difficulties with.

“Right now we are working with the KHDA to find the right schools. We need the leadership at the school to be interested and the teachers to be ready to accept these children. Having both sides buying into the programme is a recipe for success.”

The training programme will start next year once all the participants have been chosen. An introductory course will be provided to all the teachers of the participating schools.

“We are providing this training free of charge as an incentive to the schools and the teachers,” Dr Al Olama said.

This will be a pilot programme for the inclusion of special-needs children in schools and Dr Al Olama hopes to add more schools and pupils to the programme based on the pilot’s results.

malkhan@thenational.ae