It is Qatar’s national policy that every child should be provided with education to help it reach its full potential, and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education 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 (HMC) 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 Ministry of Education and Higher Education established the first database for students with special needs in local schools in January 2018, in line with the government’s directives towards digital transformation, and to achieve the vision and mission of the ministry in the implementation of a system of integrated educational services for students in accordance with Qatar National Vision 2030.
Al Noor Institute for the Visually Impaired offers help to those who are sightless or visually impaired. 4422 2777.
The Autism Program by HMC is an outpatient programme providing diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation services to children with autism or under ASD. The programme started in 2012 at the Child Development Center (CDC). The programme accepts referrals only from HMC’s or CDC’s physicians to make best use of the programme and resources for the right group of children.
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.
Awsaj Academy, a member of Qatar Foundation (QF), tutors Grade KG – 12 students with learning challenges in classes of 10 students and one teacher. Teaching is in English, and the curriculum includes maths, English, science, Arabic, Islamic studies, Qatar national history, art, IT and physical education. It also has an outreach centre that provides evaluation and professional development services to the community (see Qatar Foundation in this section). 4454 2111, 4454 2115.
Child Development Center (CDC) is a special needs centre in West Bay. Established in 2013, CDC provides a network of internationally qualified and licensed professionals who offer child-centered and evidence-based early detection and intervention for children with developmental delays. Services include applied behaviour analysis (ABA), speech therapy, occupational therapy, diagnostics and assessments, as well as professional development training and workshops. 6692 0199, 4414 7283.
Family Hope Center is for children, adolescents and adults with social, mental and physical challenges. The centre was established to provide the necessary resources to support both individuals with special needs and their families. 4435 0951.
HOPE Qatar Centre for Special Needs is a pioneer in the field of Special Needs Education in Qatar, established in 2005, providing Help, Opportunity, Participation, and Education for children and young people aged 3 – 25. HOPE Qatar is approved by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and offers individualised programmes meeting academic as well as therapeutic needs of its students in a near school environment that enables achieving their full potential and holistic development.
Mind Institute works with children from birth to 18 years with communication difficulties, fine and gross motor challenges, language delays, hearing difficulties, educational delays, behaviour disorders, emotional disorders, sensory integration issues, social skills challenges and more. 4418 1968.
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 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. 4459 4050.
The Qatar Society for Rehabilitation of Special Needs attends to the social, mental, academic and healthy rehabilitation of people with special needs in society, in keeping with the Islamic principles, traditions and customs of Qatari society.
Renad Academy, a member of QF, is a centre for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The centre provides education and specialised services to students, and training and support to parents. It provides education to Qatari students, aged 3 – 21, experiencing mild-moderate ASD. The centre provides all aspects of education for its students, using evidence-based practices such as ABA, discreet trial training, pivotal response training, and structured TEACCH in one-to-one and small group settings.
Shafallah-Integration for the Disabled, established in 1999, offers state-of-the-art technologies, including an on-site Genetic Research Centre, cutting-edge therapies, and a first-class faculty and counsellors. The centre is a non-profit, 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. 4495 6666.
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. 4475 7625.
The Learning Center (TLC), a member of QF, is a centralised student support services team comprised of special educators and school-based specialists. They collaborate with QF schools to develop an inclusive approach that provides a tiered system of support to students from early childhood through secondary education. The tiered system focuses on ensuring age-appropriate development, supporting students with developmental and learning challenges, and helping students who need more attention to bolster their academic performance. 4454 2106.
Register for School
The registration of new students with Additional Educational Support Needs (AESN) in kindergartens (KGs) is only for Qataris, while registration in the first grade is allowed for both Qatari as well as expatriate students with special needs, according to the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
In a circular issued to independent schools, the ministry said students who suffer from speech and language problems like hearing, hyperactivity disorder and physical disabilities not associated with mental disabilities can register directly through independent schools.
Hearing impaired students of all levels of ability can register at the Audio Education Complex.
Blind students who suffer from severe visual impairment can register at Al Noor Institute for the Visually Impaired.
Children who suffer from conditions like cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, autism and others can apply through Roua Centre for Assessment, Support and Counseling under the Special Education Office to determine the right school for the student.
Meanwhile, the Ministry has issued a circular to public schools, asking them to admit children of employees working in the private sector in areas which do not have private schools like Al Shamal, Dukhan, Rawdat Rashed, Al Karaana, Al Sheehaniya, Al Ghuwariyah, Al Zubara, Al Kharsaah, Al Kaaban, Al Ghashamia and Al Jamiliyah.
According to the circular, all admission and registration requirements should be met and the parents should provide documents proving their residence in the area.
Students cannot be transferred to public schools in areas which have private schools.