Experts to jointly work for special needs kids

DUBAI — A major educational conference in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, concluded yesterday with experts from the UAE and Saudi Arabia pledging to work jointly to support children with special needs.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Wed 4 Apr 2007, 8:37 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:36 AM

The fourth International Child Development Conference aimed to examine the latest initiatives in this regard.

A leading scholar from the British University in Dubai (BUiD), Dr Eman Gaad, organised a two-hour workshop to discuss the need for early intervention to promote the social inclusion of children with learning difficulties. Early intervention is resorted to for preparing pupils with disabilities for mainstream school, an international trend that is increasingly being adopted by Gulf states including the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

In the UAE, for example, Federal Law No 29 states that the education system must provide a full range of support to children with special needs.

“We are working closely with the UAE Down Syndrome Association to help children with the condition to interact with others as an important part of their development. Steps like this ensure that children with special needs have access to a full range of educational opportunities,” said Dr Gaad.

One of the challenges highlighted by the conference is the current regional shortage of specialist teacher training courses focusing on this area.

BUiD’s Master of Education (MEd) programme, offered in association with the University of Birmingham, is one of the few courses in the region that offer the option of a specialist focus on special needs teaching.

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