Affordable special centre coming up in UAE


Affordable special centre coming up in UAE

Dubai - The Merint Determination Centre will include children with autism, learning difficulties, dyslexia and global development delay.

By Saman Haziq

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Published: Sat 20 Jul 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 20 Jul 2019, 9:09 AM

With a huge demand and long waiting lists for special schools and centres for determined ones in the UAE, parents have welcomed the news of a new, affordable, reasonably-priced centre that will be opening in the Muhaisnah area in September.
With a decade of experience of working with the determined ones, Dubai-based Richa Marwaha, co-founder of the upcoming Merint Determination Centre, felt that there was a need of such centre in the northern areas of Dubai as well as in the Northern Emirates. "I have been dealing with a lot of determined ones in these areas and giving them therapies. But it saddened me to see that many of them had to be pulled out of their special training centres due to high fees. So, these children would then have to sit at home as neither could they go to main stream schools due to their disability nor could they afford special training centres. This is what led me to collaborate with a business group that was also looking to invest in a meaningful cause."
The Merint Determination Centre will include children with autism, learning difficulties, dyslexia and global development delay. The strength of the school will be around 40-45 students that will be managed by a certified staff of around 15 special educators, including some mothers of determined ones too.
The cost-effective centre that will focus on indoor as well as outdoor, sensory and physical recreational activities will cater to children and young adults aged over 18.
Each determined one will have an individual educational plan (IEP) that include math, English, independent living skills etc. Apart from that, the centre will also include activities such as yoga, art sessions, brain gym, dance and music and other physical activities. In addition to this, in-house experts will provide occupational therapy, creative arts therapy and speech therapy, physiotherapy as well.
She said the group also plans to work with the Emirates Red Crescent to offer scholarships to its students. Unlike other schools that close down during vacations, Merint Determination Centre will remain open throughout the year to cater to the needs of the determined ones. Merint group and Marwaha had organised an open day that saw around 70 determined ones along with their parents gather to announce the upcoming launch of the centre.
Sri Lankan expat Dushani Mendis, who was present at the meet with her 12-year-old son Tharindu, said she was looking forward to putting her son in the new centre. "My son has not been going to any centre because of financial constraints. He had improved a lot in his earlier special training centre but we are looking for an affordable centre offering good therapies."
Marwaha said: "For adults, we have a separate course called pre-vocational skill training, where we train them at the centre for six to eight months to see the fields they like and can excel in. We will then look for places where they can be absorbed as employees."
Fazal Manekia, CEO of Merint, said: "We wanted to make this accessible and affordable for all sections of the society, hence we chose Muhaisnah (opposite the pond park) as it is also closer to Northern Emirates and other areas of Dubai."
The centre will have a day programme from 8am to 1pm after which outsiders can also take separate one-on-one therapy sessions on hourly basis.

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