Views of Adolescents with Cognitive Disabilities and their Parents on Using Sports as Means for Social Inclusion in Dubai

This study examines views of adolescents with cognitive disabilities and their parents on the inclusion of such adolescents in various sport programmes through their educational institutions in Dubai. Following the adoption of a new national policy known as ‘The National Policy for People of Determination 2017’, learners with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) who are often referred to as students of determination in the UAE, are expected to live fulfilled lives and be included in mainstream education and make the most of their potentials. Most educational institutions use sports and physical activities as means of the social inclusion of adolescents with disabilities. This paper focuses on adolescents with cognitive disabilities aged 13 to 18 that are enrolled in educational institutions (schools or centres). The study investigates the impact of enrolling adolescents with cognitive disabilities in sport programmes on their social inclusion. Such impact includes forming and sustaining friendships, motivation and self-steam development. A qualitative approach was adopted for the research. Purposeful sampling of adolescents and their parents from several schools and centres that cater for adolescents (aged 13-18) with cognitive disabilities was undertaken. Semi structured interviews were held with parents while focus groups discussions were used to gather data from the adolescents themselves (boys and girls). Issues, challenges and recommendations are presented to inform policy, decision makers and future studies in the field.
parents’ views, cognitive disabilities, inclusion, sports, people of determination, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)