Exploring Twice-Exceptionality in Dubai Private Schools: Awareness, Perceptions, Current Practices and Suggested Enhancing Educational Strategies

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
By the time the UAE pursues a first-rate education system that offers equal opportunities to all students, the Ministry of Education does not recognise twice-exceptional learners as a separate category of students who requires special education. Due to the complexity of their educational needs, they require identification and support that matches their coexistent disability and giftedness. Thus, this research is a transformative study aiming to reveal policymakers and educators’ awareness and perceptions about twice-exceptionality. Moreover, this study seeks to determine how these students are identified and supported in schools in private schools in Dubai. As a result, strategies to enhance their education are discussed. Underpinned by social justice philosophy, a transformative concurrent mixed methodology is used to investigate the awareness and perceptions of educators and policymakers, and current practices provided to twice-exceptional learners at the level of identification and support, in Dubai. Derived from the theoretical framework, this study is transdisciplinary as reflected in its findings and recommendation. For this purpose, surveys for educators, as well as semi-structured interviews with inclusion specialists, policymakers, and twice-exceptional students are conducted. Additionally, non-participant observation and a sample of work are analysed. This triangulation aims to boost the validity, and trustworthiness of this dissertation. Aiming to suggest strategies to support twice-exceptional learners, in the emirate of Dubai, semi-structured interviews with international experts in twice-exceptionality research are led. Findings showed that schools support twiceexceptional students proactively. Furthermore, educators and policymakers need further awareness. Accordingly, recommendations are suggested. Finally, it is hoped that such recommendations support policymakers and educators for better provisions for twice-exceptional learners in Dubai, the UAE, and perhaps in the region.
twice-exceptional children, policymakers, giftedness, special needs, gifted with disabilities, gifted children, education, Inclusion, educators, parents, specific learning disabilities, United Arab Emirates (UAE)