The Role of Centers in Enabling Schools with Inclusive Practices in Dubai: A Focus on the Collaboration and Communication System

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Services in three main areas; education, health and employment, are to be provided to persons with special needs to protect their rights. Education is one of the rights given to learners with special needs however schools are not the only place to provide it. The law offers many options for providing education for learners with special needs for example article 9 stated the special centers’ role for people with special needs and articles 12,13,14 and 15 talk about the education of those learners. Stakeholders who have long awaited the 2006 law of children’s right for education have a main concern regarding the vagueness of the procedure for the implementation process. The issue of persons with special needs facing the bureaucracy of being included in mainstream schools will still be there until the procedures are clarified, stated, and implemented. Accordingly the following study will be focusing on the role of centers in supporting the implementation of the law; mainly the implementation of inclusion in schools. Since the process of collaboration, coordination, and communication between the centers and schools is unclear and the centers play an important part in supporting children with special needs, thus further investigation towards the established system and process is highly required. The purpose of the study is to find out what types of centers exist in UAE and what services do they provide for children with special needs and for schools with inclusive practices. What approach do centers in UAE follow as a base for their cooperation, coordination, and communication system, and how does the system work in the center itself and between the center and schools. The researcher interviewed three different directors of centers in Dubai and one shadow teacher assigned by a fourth center in Dubai. An analysis of data is done based on theories in the field and some recommendations are provided accordingly. A collaborative approach must be adopted for support services to work effectively to ensure a unified, balanced approach to the family and their child with special needs. Different terms are used to describe people working together such as multi-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary, and trans-disciplinary. The first two are not team focused to support the child and family as a whole across the curriculum unlike the latter which provides the structure to enhance collaborative working.
inclusive practices, United Arab Emirates (UAE), special needs, mainstream schools