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Dubai: New programme launched in schools to boost inclusion initiative

These therapies will be made available to the GEMS network’s parent community at a significantly reduced cost.



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by

Nandini Sircar

Published: Mon 31 Jan 2022, 1:43 PM

Last updated: Mon 31 Jan 2022, 1:55 PM

An innovative programme enhancing inclusion provision at UAE schools has been launched.

The programme that covers four schools in its initial phase will provide caring, holistic and multidisciplinary services to children and adolescents who experience developmental delays, thereby providing quality therapeutic support systems for families.

Through GEMS Link, students will gain access to a dedicated, high-quality, DHA-licensed team of therapists who will provide speech and language therapy as well as occupational therapy.

These therapies will be made available to the network’s parent community at a significantly reduced cost.

The classes will take place on the school premises to ensure children receive support in a familiar and trusted environment.

Philip Thompson, Head of Inclusion at GEMS Education, said, “We are committed to providing our students with the right support at the right time. Our new GEMS Link services are designed to give students the specialist support they need to be successful in their learning journey. In providing an on-site multidisciplinary team, delivering holistic embedded assessment, observation and review programmes linked to the curriculum, we aim to ensure students have access to the most effective strategies that prepare them for adulthood.”

The team of experts would work collaboratively with each child’s team of educators and parents to ensure a personalised and meaningful intervention that support the holistic development of the child.

GEMS Link will initially be rolled out across four GEMS schools namely, GEMS Founders School – Dubai, GEMS Founders School – Al Mizhar, GEMS Cambridge International School – Dubai, and GEMS Metropole School – Motor City.

Matthew Burfield, who oversees these four schools in his capacity as Vice President – Education at GEMS Education and Principal/CEO of GEMS Founders School – Dubai, underlines, “Inclusion has always been incredibly close to my heart as a teacher and a school leader. I have the honour and privilege of leading a large, diverse cluster of seven schools across the UAE, whose leaders all share this same sentiment. This fantastic initiative will bring the services that our most vulnerable children need closer to our schools and in turn our children. This is an incredibly exciting programme that will, I am sure, soon spread to the rest of the schools in Dubai and beyond.”

Speech and language therapy supports children and adolescents with their speech, language and communication needs. These programmes may have focused areas on speech sounds, fluency, oral motor skill development, AAC and social communication.

Nav Iqbal, Principal/CEO, GEMS Metropole School – Motor City, opines, “Parents and their children who require access to the services provided through the GEMS Link programme will no longer need to have to drive long distances or pay high fees for such services. It is our duty as an education provider to offer services that benefit and build on our school’s capacity, to enhance its ability to meet the needs of diverse student populations and with greater access and quality for our most vulnerable students.”

Occupational therapy would help develop a child’s motor, sensory, behavioural, cognitive, and social skills.

Interventions are age appropriate and multidisciplinary with the primary goal being to enable children to participate in daily activities.

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Akram Tarik, Principal/CEO of GEMS Founders School – Al Mizhar, avers, “This programme will not only benefit our children’s communication and understanding of language, but it will also play a crucial role in developing our children’s readiness for life and their ability to realise their potential.

"The collaboration between the four GEMS Link schools, our children, their families, and the additional education professionals will help us to further develop personalised strategies to meet every child’s individual needs.”


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