As part of ALHOSN University’s commitment to serving the interests of people with special needs, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in collaboration with the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research has organized a distinguished lecture entitled "Challenges of Educating People with Special Needs: Autism as a Model" delivered by Amal Jalal, Director of the Emirates Autism Centre - Abu Dhabi.
The informative session was attended by H.E. Dr. Munther Momany, Vice Chancellor of ALHOSN University; Dr. Mohammed Saeed Hasab El Naby, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences; and Dr. Mohammed Kashef, Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. Faculty members were also present, including Prof. Dr. Hassan Mustafa, Head of the English Department and Ms. Shirin Al Wakeel, a teacher of the same Department of English. Specialists in educating people with special needs, parents and female students of ALHOSN, and guests from other Abu Dhabi schools attended as well.
Ms. Jalal discussed the numerous challenges people with special needs face in integrating with public education. She focused on autism in particular as a condition that has clearly become commonplace in the community. Ms. Jalal discussed her son's case whom she considers as the first integration case in the UAE, recounting the difficulties she and her family underwent during her son’s childhood and his yearly educational journey. These experiences, she said, changed the lives of her family and led to her son becoming the first autistic student to receive a high school certificate in the UAE.
The forum discussed other challenges such as the typical denial displayed by a family once it learns that one of its members is affected by autism, curricular hurdles to smooth integration, the refusal of some schools to accept autistic students, the need for teacher training, and the lack of specialists in the field of special needs in general and autism in particular.
Important questions about early detection and its importance in the treatment of autism, the necessity of training and skills in dealing with people with special needs, and the important roles education colleges play in preparing educators capable of teaching this important segment of society were raised as well.
At the end of the lecture, Prof. Momany handed an ALHOSN trophy to Ms. Jalal in recognition of her valuable contributions to the field of autism. Dr. Mohamed Saeed and Dr. Mohammed Kashef, also handed her a Certificate of Appreciation for enriching the knowledge of the university’s students.