More than 28,000 lessons and educational services were provided to students with special needs during the last academic year, it has been revealed.

Education Minister Dr Majid Al Nuaimi said the ministry was pushing ahead with integrating special needs students into the regular school environment.

“We have managed to integrate students with Down Syndrome, autism, and the blind and the deaf by providing them with all the necessary facilities to help them study with their peers,” he said in a statement yesterday.

The minister pointed out that the pandemic had not prevented the ministry from continuing to provide special needs students with lessons and digital resources.

“We have taken into account students’ abilities and health conditions, and during the last academic year itself we offered more than 28,000 lessons.

“These included lessons in sign language for deaf students, audio lessons for students with visual disabilities, and a special education channel on the ministry’s YouTube platform.

“We have also communicated with these students’ parents via phone calls, text messages, e-mail and the application Class Dojo and WhatsApp, with the aim of reassuring the progress of virtual lessons and following up on students’ progress and mastery of competencies.”

He said special care was being given to each special need category.

“A total of 471 simple intellectual disability and Down Syndrome students were accepted in 60 boys’ and girls’ schools across the country.

“The ministry educates the students under this category in a special class in school, and they are integrated with their ordinary peers in the extra-curricular activities, which are sports, music, drawing, design, technology, fields and computers.

“Furthermore, specialists prepare tailor-made activities according to the competencies found in guidelines to help teachers in schools to provide the best possible service for these students.”

Dr Al Nuaimi added that 128 autistic students are enrolled in 24 schools.

“The classes have all that is necessary for this category, including special corners, expert teachers, provisions for individual study, group work, and developing and enhancing their abilities.”

Students who suffer from blindness or low vision have been integrated with support from the Saudi-Bahraini Institute for the Blind.

“Those students have been integrated in government schools with regular colleagues as ordinary students are educated on how to deal with their visually impaired schoolmates.”

The minister says that over the past seven years hearing impaired students have also been enrolled in schools.

“We have integrated 22 hearing impaired students in schools and have provided specialists in sign language in classrooms.

“We will expand the lessons in sign language in schools through student activities, and develop a system that works on translating sign language into letters and words.”


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