The UAE does not have official figures for the exact number of students diagnosed with SEN, however it is estimated that around 1 in 5 pupils will have some form of learning needs. We also know that given the country's almost unique cultural mix, divergent school systems and wide variation in linguistic capability SEND students are likely to be missed, and their numbers under reported.
The good news is that things are improving - in terms of detection and provision. All UAE mainstream schools should now accept children with SEND, although the degree with which they can accommodate special needs children will vary. In most cases it will be limited to those with relatively mild requirements.
Improvement stems from 2013/14 when the KHDA, and perhaps less obviously ADEC, placed additional emphasis on SEN provision, reiterating their commitment to improving SEN in mainstream schools. The inclusion of SEND capability in inspection reports has without a doubt been a catalyst: mainstream school provision has improved markedly as a result of its provision affecting final ratings.
There will however still be cases however when a mainstream school will not have the facilities, or specialities needed, and focused resources will be required. We have endeavoured to details the resources available to parents in our reviews section, and to link to them below.
If you are aware of any addition resources to parents in the UAE please do get in contact with us, in the first instance by contacting our editorial team on editor [at] WhichSchoolAdvisor.com.