An Investigation into the effectiveness of the Inclusive Education Standards Policy for Students with Severe Disabilities in UAE.
The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Abstract Discrimination is a multifaceted form of prejudice that has been around for many years. However, it was only in 1960 that UNESCO began calling for an end to educational discrimination. In 1994, at the World Conference in Salamanca, an appeal to fight for the right of people with disabilities to education was made. That was a necessary step towards combatting educational discrimination as disability discrimination harms students' ability to grow and develop. Inclusive education fights discrimination and helps students with disabilities get their rights. Although only a limited number of studies highlighted the need for inclusive policies for students with Severe Disabilities, literature emphasized that mainstreaming students with Severe Disabilities will help them gain academic, communication, and self-determination abilities. This study was driven by the benefits for students with severe disabilities and the fact that they get services in a segregated setting. The aim of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of the inclusive education standards policy for students with severe disabilities in UAE. In this study, the researcher opted to use the explanatory sequential mixed methods design. Surveys were conducted, followed with semi-structured interviews. Parents of children with severe disabilities, educators, teachers, and faculty from across the UAE were included in the study's targeted purposive sample, along with professionals in the special education area (special education teachers, inclusion specialists, speech therapists, etc.). Data from 77 survey participants and 11 interview participants were analyzed. The results showed that students with Severe Disabilities are not included in school education under the current inclusive education policy, which further highlights that there are numerous on-ground obstacles. Furthermore, the study gathered several recommendations for creating an effective inclusive education policy which aims to include students with Severe Disabilities and considers their complex needs. Additional evidence-based suggestions for future practice in inclusive education for students with Severe Disabilities were also made at the conclusion to this study. Ultimately, the results suggest that more research has to be done on the available support, current practices, and policy frameworks.
severe disability, multiple disabilities, mainstream schools, inclusive policy, health complex needs, United Arab Emirates (UAE), inclusive education