ABU DHABI - The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) has signed a historic agreement with Autism Education Trust (AET) - the UK Department for Education’s not-for-profit organisation that builds and enhances professional capabilities to support autism spectrum students from early years up to the age of 25.
The three-year agreement ensures ADEK’s status as the first licensed entity outside the UK to deliver AET’s specialised training programme, which has been rigorously developed with direct involvement of people on the autism spectrum, their parents, leading autism specialists, academics, and education professionals.
This includes the acclaimed AET Progression Framework and AET "Tools for Teachers" resources, which is comprised of videos, case studies, problem-solving scenarios, strategies, presentations, activities and a core modular training programme to help schools audit and assess their procedures and aid continuous professional development.
The programme will be rolled out to educators across private and Charter Schools in Abu Dhabi this September. With some schools already expressing an interest to enrol their staff in the training programmes, school principals can contact ADEK to schedule the specialised training for their staff.
"ADEK is the first international entity to secure the AET licence, and this agreement is aligned to the Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination undertaken by entities throughout the Emirate. Our partnership with AET represents a major step forward to achieving our objective of building an inclusive society that empowers students of determination," said Amer Al Hammadi, ADEK Under-Secretary.
He added, "We are committed to broadening the professional horizons for school teachers and staff to gain experience in dealing with students on the autism spectrum. The training programme will help teaching and administrative school staff support students and enhance the wider community’s understanding of autism. We continue to work with leading partners to adopt the most advanced methodologies and ensure quality education for all our children to help them reach their full potentials."
AET’s modular programmes, which have trained 400,000 educators in the UK, enable instructors to tailor programmes to address specific professional needs. In Abu Dhabi, three training modules will be available to all educators working in mainstream schools and specialised education centres dedicated to students of determination.
The ‘Making Sense of Autism’ module is a basic awareness training for staff and administrators within any education setting, while the ‘Good Autism Practice’ module offers practical knowledge, hands-on tools, and techniques for teachers and teaching assistants working directly with students on the autism spectrum. The ‘Leading Good Autism Practice’ module is for trainers and focuses on developing good autism provision.
"This programme is based on three key principles which foster the inclusivity ecosystem across Abu Dhabi schools," said Kevin Baskerville, ADEK’s Acting Director - Students of Determination Office. By focusing on the differences, not the deficits, the programme highlights the strengths that students of determination have, not the challenges they face, he noted.
"It also calls for us to adopt high expectations for autism spectrum students and promotes positive attitudes towards autism. The third key principle focuses on securing learning goals that are meaningful to students and support positive life outcomes, which aligns with our commitment to creating new career and learning pathways to ensure students of determination take activate roles in society," Baskerville stated.
© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2021.