It is Qatar’s national policy that every child should be provided with education to help it reach its full potential and the Supreme Education Council (SEC) is committed to inclusive integration in education where possible. Some 80% of independent schools have introduced additional educational needs facilities and staff.
An early intervention programme provided by Hamad Medical Corporation provides services and support to families who may need assistance with extraordinary care for a child with special needs. The programme includes child development (for preschool children) and therapy for behavioural changes. It also supplies required equipment and does a home assessment.
Older individuals with special needs are not neglected and a number of programmes and facilities are available to young adults.
The Special Education Department at Rumailah Hospital, established in 1974, has an Outpatient Day Care service providing specialised pre- integration training for children with physical, developmental and associated learning needs. Rumailah’s Speech Therapy depar tment addresses speech, language, communication, and swallowing skills in children with disabilities. Speech therapists provide comprehensive diagnostic evaluations, consultations, parent counselling and intervention. The Special Education Department is located in Hamad bin Khalifa Medical City in Building 16 (3rd and 4th floor).
Qatar’s state sector has specialised programmes for the hearing and visually impaired; there is a programme for Arabic speaking children with learning difficulties and programmes (in Arabic) for gifted children. Some expatriate schools provide special needs support without a fully modified curriculum.
All families in the country with disabled/special needs members are encouraged to take advantage of the available facilities.
The privately-run Omega Centre for Special Needs Education offers diagnostic, therapeutic and education services and aims to assist families whose children have psychiatric, physical, educational and social challenges.
Qatar Foundation includes Awsaj Academy which tutors Grade 1–12 students with learning challenges in classes of 10 or lower. Teaching is in English, and the curriculum includes Maths, English, Science, Arabic, Islamic Studies, Qatar National Histor y, Ar t, IT, and Physical Education. It also has an outreach centre that provides evaluation and professional development services to the community.
HOPE Qatar is a non-profit organisation providing Help, Oppor tunity, Participation and Education for children and young people, aged 5 – 20, with mild to moderate special education needs. It is an affiliated organisation of the Indian Cultural Centre.
Al Noor Institute for the Blind offers help to those who are sightless or visually impaired.
Mind Institute is a brand new, state-of-the-art facility that works with children from birth to 18 years with communication difficulties, fine and gross motor challenges, language delays, hearing difficulties, educational delays, behavior disorders, emotional disorders, sensory integration issues, social skills challenges, and more.
Qatar Assistive Technology Centre (Mada) enables those with learning, visual, hearing, and physical disabilities (including dyslexia) to access information and communications technology without barriers offering assessments advice and training.
The Shafallah Center, established in 1999, offers state-of-the-art technologies, including an on-site Genetic Research Centre, cutting-edge therapies and first-class faculty and counsellors. The Center is a nonprofit, private institution, serving as a model for the provision of special education, therapeutic, and healthcare support services for children with disabilities from birth to adulthood. It has around 720 students.
Step by Step Centre for Special Needs offers a caring and stimulating environment to enable children, aged 3 – 16, with learning challenges to achieve their full academic and personal potential through specialised teaching in a school setting and individual therapy sessions. It also has a Summer School Programme.