Special Needs dedicated
Dubai Center for Special Needs is an established, non-profit institution that provides specialised education and therapy for children with various disabilities such as Down’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Aspergers, ADHD, Spina Bifida, Epilepsy and others.
The school is largely dependent on the generosity of the local community and corporations. There are 135 students at the Center, of which 65% are UAE nationals. Students are between the ages of four to 27, with the Center aiming to give each of them the best quality of life in emotional, social, academic and physical terms.
Once the students have finished their academic education, the Center concentrates on pre-vocational training by taking them to various organizations within Dubai in order to gain work experience. The long-term objective is to help them gain employment in the community and find their rightful place in society, says the school’s website.
The school is located by Sheikh Zayed Road just before Safa Park. Click here for a map http://www.dcsneeds.ae/location.htm
Is this a non-profit school?
Who runs the school?
The school is managed on a day-to-day basis by the Director, Dr Mahshid Salehi, a qualified child and family psychologist who oversees all administration as well as therapy departments and educational programmes. She is responsible for ensuring that the curriculum and rehabilitation programmes are in line with the latest internationally approved special education standards and guidelines. There is also a Board of Governors which consists of prominent individuals dedicated to meeting every month in order to give the Center support on matters regarding its management and development. The Director is accountable to the Board of Governors.
What is the school’s philosophy?
Dubai Center for Special Needs exists to serve the unique academic, physical, social and emotional needs of its students, says the school’s website. All aspects of the Center’s organization, curriculum, and activities are child-centered and designed to accommodate individual learning styles so that all may experience success.
The management and staff seek to improve the quality of life of individuals with special needs of all ages and their families by:
- Promoting their independence, productivity, inclusion, empowerment, and social participation in integrated community settings.
- Promoting high quality, effective community-based programs and social support services to individuals and their families.
- Promoting the prevention of disabilities through training, public awareness and services.
- Providing advocacy, inter-disciplinary training, technical assistance and information dissemination to accomplish the aims given above.
How is this implemented?
The Center’s students are placed into classes based on their abilities. There are four sections of classes namely Nursery, Academic, Prevocational and Multi-Sensory. Students are placed in the appropriate section according to their abilities. Each section sets specific goals for the year as well as monthly educational themes.
Therapy plays a vital role in the growth of students. There are several talented therapists who work with students on a daily basis to improve their skills. Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy sessions are scheduled on a regular basis depending on each student’s needs.
Art and music are also integral parts of students’ learning and therapy. Students learn to paint, make pottery, participate in wood-working and play instruments. These various art forms play an important role in physical development, building self-confidence, and gaining new life skills.
The curriculum seeks to consider each student as a whole, taking into account his/her cultural and life experiences and is based on the principle that each student is an individual and should be given every possible opportunity for education appropriate to their needs and for personal, social, physical and emotional development. The school’s goal is to encourage each student to acquire the knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and behavior patterns that will increase his/her independence.
The school’s education and therapy programs focus on:
Self-Help Skills: From making their own snack to tidying up their surroundings (and everything in between) students are encouraged to become as independent as possible.
Cognitive Development: Nurtured through a range of academic and classroom activities
Creative Arts: DCSN currently offers regular art classes, woodworking, pottery making, and music lessons.
Physical Activities: To promote physical fitness and teamwork, students participate in gym classes, competitions, swimming, horse riding, sailing, and ice-skating
Educational Field Trips: Students gain valuable knowledge about a variety of topics as well as lessons in social interaction skills through real life experiences.
Music / Play-Acting / Concerts: These activities promote speech and language development, while building students’ confidence. DCSN hosts an annual concert open to the community to showcase their students’ many talents
What facilities does the school offer?
DCSN was designed with the special needs of its students in mind. It is a spacious one level building with beautiful gardens, large play areas, and a swimming pool on the premises.
The classrooms are bright, cheerful, and spacious.
There are three therapy departments, each equipped with the latest specialized equipment. Its
state-of-the-art multipurpose hall is fully equipped with a sound system and stage. This is where DCSN hosts assemblies and concerts.
The Centre also has a fully equipped fitness center managed by qualified Physical Education teachers.
Additionally, students operate a tuck shop selling healthy food such as salads and sandwiches. Operating the tuck shop everyday boosts students’ confidence, social skills, business sense and math skills.
Other resources include a medical clinic, observation room, music room, home economics room, woodworking shop, pottery kiln and a well stocked library.
Admission may be obtained through referral by a pediatrician, school or private enrollment. The first step is for parents to obtain and complete an admission form (link to admission form <http://www.dcsneeds.ae/pdf%20files/Application%20form.pdf> ) available online or from DCSN Reception (link to location map <http://www.dcsneeds.ae/location.htm#11> ).
All students seeking admission to DCSN must be evaluated and tested before admission will be permitted.
The completed application along with required documentation (as stated on application form) should be returned to DCSN Reception. The student will then be placed on a waiting list and parents will be contacted to arrange an initial assessment with the Director.