Oct 19, 2022

Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS) is keen to develop the skills of teachers and parents, and improve their field experience in special education. Therefore, SCHS is organizing the Specialized Diploma of Special Education in cooperation with Ajman University from November 1, 2022 to February 28, 2023. Specializations include the following fields (Intellectual Disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Early Intervention, Assistive Technologies, and Inclusive Education).

H.E Ms. Mona Abdul Karim Al Yafei, Director of SCHS, has confirmed that SCHS is one of the leading Emirati institutions that offered specialized training programs for workers with persons with disabilities, both internally and externally. These programs were strengthened through the special education teacher preparation workshop, which turned into a specialized diploma program in cooperation with Ajman University. Due to the increasing professional need for this type of program and the development of training needs, the Specialized Special Education Diploma comes as a new step in this direction.

She said, “One of the most important objectives of the diploma is to enhance the training experience received by the trainee, raise the level of his skills and enhance his specialization. In addition to benefiting from the professional expertise provided by SCHS”.

Regarding the nature of the diploma, SCHS director indicated that it adapts 30% of the theoretical program on “Introduction to Special Education”. About 40% of the specialized theoretical program is adapted according to the trainee’s desire, and 30% of the practical training program within SCHS centers is adapted according to specialization.

Al-Yafei explained that one of the most important conditions for participating in the diploma is that the trainee must be fluent in Arabic language, reading and writing. He has to have a High-school certificate as a minimum. He also has to have an interest in special education or a worked previously in the field. Participation is available to all applicants from different Arab countries. While SCHS would provide the necessary facilities for trainees wishing to complete vocational training, it does not bear any cost related to accommodation, travel or necessary visas.

In the first part of the diploma, which includes 30 hours, including the theoretical program "Introduction to Special Education", teachers will introduce SCHS, the rights of persons with disabilities, the definition of special education, its objectives, and the disabilities it deals with to students. The diploma would present an introduction to Intellectual Disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Early Intervention, Inclusive Education, and Sensory Disabilities (Hearing Impairment). It would also present an introduction to supportive activities with persons with disabilities (sports, arts), and a discussion session with the trainees.

After the trainee has passed 30 hours of general training, each trainee will pass one of the following programs (according to his desire), "Mental Disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Early Intervention, Inclusive Education, and Assistive Technologies".

Intellectual Disability

Dr. Samia Muhammad Saleh, Director of Al-Wafa School for Capacity Development, explained that the importance of preparing a special education diploma comes within the framework of social responsibility, which includes training those concerned with working with persons with disabilities and their families. The field of disability, most notably include diagnosis, evaluation, development of individual educational programs, behavior management and family counseling. In addition to the way to train people with severe and multiple disabilities and rare syndromes.

She added, “Many specialists from various Gulf countries participated in this diploma in previous years. Nevertheless, this year's diploma is special because of the addition of many specializations. For example, SCHS added Assistive Technologies and Early Intervention”.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

For her part, Dr. Siham Al Humaimat, Director of the Sharjah Autism Center, has confirmed that the Professional Diploma Program in Special Education sheds light on a set of basic subjects in the field of autism spectrum disorder, such as diagnosing and evaluating children with autism spectrum disorder. Other examples are the most important diagnostic tools and methods of use, presenting recent trends in the field of therapeutic and rehabilitative programs in educating people with autism, the way to prepare the individual educational program for the child and the areas included in the program to make the child reach the best level. The diploma will teach the latest practices in the field of speech, language and sensory processing.

The diploma also includes detailed information on functional behavior analysis, positive behavior support, and the way to manage classes of students with autism spectrum disorder and guide their families. It also includes a special specialiazation on the most important technologies and applications in the field of assistive technologies that support working with people with autism spectrum disorder. This makes it easier for families to develop communication and educate their children.

Early Intervention

In turn, Mr. Mohamed Fawzy, Director of SCHS Early Intervention Center, pointed out that the early years of children’s lives are very critical and very important. Many studies and research indicate this, as the child in the initial stages of his life is more sensitive and prone to respond to the experiences and stimuli surrounding him. Therefore, providing early intervention services for children with developmental delays or with disabilities will work to develop their various skills and reduce the growth gap between peers.

The main objective of the program is to deepen competence and improve services provided to infants and young children, according to the latest and best international practices. During this specialized diploma, participants will be able to familiarize themselves with the general concepts of early intervention and modern philosophies based on early intervention such as the natural environment, the importance of partnership and family empowerment, education and training according to modern learning theories, and functional assessment outputs. It also provides innate learning opportunities and following the child’s leadership, interventions based on activities and daily routines, the early intervention team. In addition to introducing early childhood programs. They include the measurement, evaluation and programming system, which is one of the most popular programs for this category in the United States of America and many other countries.

On top of all this, there is a great opportunity to benefit from the expertise of the work team through the opportunity for field training at SCHS's Early Intervention Center.

Inclusive Education

For her part, Ms. Doaa Al-Daridi, Supervisor of the Inclusion Unit, said, “SCHS has a vision and mission to advocate, include and empower people with disabilities with education, rehabilitation and employment to be active and independent members in their communities. SCHS does that in line with the objectives of its strategic plan. Thus, SCHS considers inclusive education not just a project or initiative, but rather a gradual development of attitudes, behaviors, systems and beliefs that qualify inclusive education to be the foundation on which the school culture rests, and whose values and concepts are reflected on the daily life of the school community”.

Thus, SCHS has included Inclusive Education in the Professional Diploma for Special Education, in cooperation with the Continuing Education Center at Ajman University. It aims to empower the cadres working in educational institutions to learn about the latest and best strategies, practices in Inclusive Education Programs, and provide them with information and supporting strategies in the educational process. This would improve the quality of the services provided, which support the process of integrating students with disabilities, follow up the implementation of strategies within the educational environment, and participate in developing solutions to the challenges facing trainees in the school environment.

The field of inclusive education is an outlet for comprehensive education, the development of inclusive educational practices, the upbringing of administrative and educational bodies. This would make teachers competent to be able to improve the services provided to integrated students by providing them with information and supporting strategies in the educational process, developing cadres working with students with disabilities, which improves the services provided to them, review the latest and best strategies in inclusive education programs.

This will be by presenting its many aspects and become acquainted with the concept of inclusive education, its philosophy and principles, the laws and legislations related to it, and its policies and processes. In addition to the general principles upon which inclusion and inclusive education are dependent. It will also present global inclusion models, successful inclusion curricula for a more inclusive environment, personal characteristics, individual differences and education integration within the classroom environment and daily routine. As well as learning and teaching strategies, educational practices for students with disabilities, modification and adaptation of curricula, planning individual educational programs with transitional plans. In addition to supporting the concept of school readiness and providing levels of support for behavior modification, stimuli and reinforces during classroom application and motor skills accuracy, writing skills, sensory integration, and an introduction to basic reading skills and reading comprehension.

The courses of the inclusive education program include the basics of inclusive education, practical practices of inclusive education, behavior management in inclusive classrooms, basic reading skills, pre-literacy skills, and supportive techniques in inclusion.

Assistive Technologies

Ms. Rabab Abdel-Wahab, Director of the Assistive Technology Center, pointed out the goal of the program, which is to introduce Assistive Technologies and Universal Design for those interested, for beginners. At the end of the program, the trainee will learn the basics of Assistive Technology services, Universal Design, and service delivery model.

She said that the main aspects is Assistive Technologies include the definition of assistive technologies, Its objectives, its types according to the type of disability (need), motor disability, intellectual disability, communication disorders, sensory disabilities (audio and visual), and learning difficulties.

She referred to the assistive technology services, "the service delivery model, types of assessments, assessment tools, and the practices of SCHS" the role of the Assistive Technology Center.

In the aspect of universal design, the diploma will introduce the definition of universal design, accessibility, types of universal design and accessibility, universal design for education, modern technology in education, the role of robots in the lives of persons with disabilities. The training will include the opportunity to learn about the tools and devices of assistive technologies through the permanent exhibition and the organization of an exhibition. The training also includes assessment sessions, classroom visits, and training in the use of devices and tools.

At the end of the program, the trainee will obtain a professional diploma in special education with a reference to the specialization, noting that the training fee is 5,250 AED.