Observation of a Special Needs Class

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My Observation of SNF Children Development Center
Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Special Needs Families (SNF) support group started in 2003 and it began as a small support group that aimed to provide emotional and social support for families having children with special needs living in Dubai. A few experienced members got together and started a platform to help the special needs community to cope and to provide constructive direction tot its family members. Later on, the group has grown and expanded through the help of their sponsors and supporters. The SNF Development Center was launched 3 years later to provide an institution for young adults with special needs who are in need of occupational and vocational training. The center is committed for to those who would like to enhance their lives by contributing to the community in their own special way. The SNF team consists of passionate and qualified staff and staff members who endeavor to help and provide the training needed and specified to each student’s potential and vocational needs. Objectives of the center:

* Develop cognitive skills: functional academics – reading signs, use of telephone, counting, using calculators, develop concept of money and time * Teach safety and protective behavior: coping with change, safety at home, road and in the community, understanding prohibited behavior, asking for help, reading survival signs * Teach skills of daily living: personal care, domestic skills and skills required in the community * Develop visual motor, fine Motor and gross motor skills: Visual discrimination, tactile discrimination, eye-hand coordination, balance and dexterity * Offer communication and social skills: communicating needs, initiating conversation, turn taking, cooperative behavior, tolerating interruptions * Impart pre-vocational and vocational training: sorting, collecting, assembling skills, clerical skills, photocopying computer skills, sewing, cooking * Develop recreational skills: listening to music, watching television, reading books, using the computer, playing simple interactive board and other games, using basic gym equipment According to my interview with the director and founder of the center, Safia Bari, that for the last few years they have achieved remarkable success as some students have really improved drastically, thus highly motivating the staff to perform more effectively. The center supports its staff and students through the help of sponsorships, donations and volunteer work/ assistance from other people. She mentioned that the center continuously aims to better mould their students by the following: * Formulating individualized educational programs

* Recording the performance in accordance with goals
* Focusing on personality development
* Applying behavior modification techniques
* Developing interpersonal skills for better vocational adjustment among peers Vocational Department
To better prepare the students for a better life and vocational skill development, the programs are designed based on the student’s abilities. For higher functioning students, basic office works such as laminating, photocopying, sometimes they are engaged in carpentry, home economics, etc.; while lower functioning students are trained with some daily skills activities such as cooking, sandwich making, table setting, household cleaning, laundry, sometimes they are also engaged in activities like recycling, etc. Academics Department

Modified curriculum to suit to students’ unique and individual needs is the main priority here. Subjects like Math, English, Reading, Islamic Studies are taught to the students. The Special Education teachers who are assigned in this department play a very critical role in the proper education of these students and their long-term goals and achievements. Careful assessment and planning for IEP’s of each student is discussed with the parents and teachers to come up with...
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