There are centres and groups in Dubai and Sharjah that offer the right kind of support to children with special needs and their parents.
5 February 2014| Last updated on 14 November 2019
An estimated 20% of children in Dubai have special needs...
The UAE government recognises the diversity of children and students in the country by establishing a number of initiatives such as support, schools, learning curriculums, centres, and activities for students with special needs.
If your child has certain special needs that need to be addressed when you move to Dubai or Sharjah, there are schools and centres that offer the right kind of support for both children with special needs and their parents.
When applying for a special needs school ensure that you apply in a timely manner as spaces are usually limited.
However, each of these centres is very helpful in giving advice and resources to parents of special children. We've compiled your handy guide to all the special needs schools and support available in Dubai and Sharjah.
Special needs resources and support in Dubai
Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special Needs
Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special Needs opened its doors in Dubai on November 21, 1981, starting with only eight children.
The Centre serves children with special needs from different nationalities and can accommodate up to 300 children in the new facility. The purpose-built facility opened its doors in April 2007 and was officially inaugurated on November 04, 2007 by HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, Wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai.
CANDID - Family Support
This is a support group for parents and caregivers of Children with Additional Needs & Disabilities In Dubai (CANDID). It's a discussion Facebook group for parents to seek support from other parents in Dubai.
It's a closed group, so first you will need to make a request to join and then answer an admin message in order to be considered for approval.
Riverston Children's Centre
The Riverston Children's Centre provides expertise and support for children and their families from a multidisciplinary team offering in-depth assessment and therapy, including speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, vision therapy and learning support together with access to visiting educational psychologists and paediatric neurologists.
The RCC also runs an Early Intervention Programme (EIP), five days a week, for children aged 2 to 5 as well as Training Programmes for parents and teachers, including a Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma in SEN delivered by our KHDA-accredited training academy.
The Carbone Clinic
The Carbone Clinic treats children with Autism in Dubai. They brought our treatment model to the region, which has been developed in their New York Clinic. This means high levels of supervision, evidence-based practices, and certified senior staff with the right credentials to provide Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services.
They also offer therapy and psychological assessment services for special needs children provided by licensed Clinical Psychologists.
- Applied Behavior Analysis
- Psychological Assessment
- Speech Language Therapy
- Clinical Psychology
The Dubai Centre for Special Needs
The Dubai Centre for Special Needs is an established, non-profitable institution that provides the highest standards of service in specialized education and therapy, for children with various disabilities. It is a caring environment, largely dependent on the generosity of the local communities and corporations. Its aim is to provide each and every one of its students the key to a positive life, thereby "Lighting the path to a brighter future".
There are over 130 students at the centre, of which 65% are U.A.E. Nationals. The students are aged between 3 years and 27 years. The Dubai Centre for Special Needs' aim is to give each and every one of their students the best quality of life of which they are able physically, emotionally, socially and academically.
When they have finished their academic education, the staff concentrates on prevocational training taking them to various organizations within Dubai for work experience and, hopefully, finally help them to gain employment within the community and to take their rightful place in this world which is their moral right.
The Rashid Centre
The Rashid Centre aims to provide high quality, integrated education services and therapies for children with special needs. The centre's purpose is to develop children's abilities to function and learn within their environments, that is, home, school, and community, and to develop maximum independence and participation in these environments.
Their aim is to deliver services that set high standards and expectations for children with special needs residing in the UAE, and to develop awareness and an understanding of disability issues in the Gulf Community.
The Dubai Autism Center
The Dubai Autism Centre is an institution of excellence having highly trained professionals to provide accredited programs to support individuals with autism and their families.
Contact +971 4 340 0005
Tamkeen operates under the umbrella of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai. Tamkeen provides services for people with visual impairments and offers training programs aimed at upgrading their applied skills to enable them to have access to suitable employment consistent with their abilities.
Suited for university-level visually impaired students.
Riding for the Disabled Association
In 1998, Riding for the Disabled Association’s patron, Her Highness Sheikha Hassa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the program by donating 3 of her horses to be used for therapeutic riding. October 2008 marked the beginning of RDAD’s 10th season of therapeutic riding lessons.
The group approximately has 60 children currently enrolled in the riding program. Examples of riders’ disabilities include autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, spina bifida, mental retardation, and various learning disabilities.
Special needs resources and support in Sharjah
Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services
The Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services offers an array of specialized services for special needs children. However, one of their requirements is that the child is an Arabic speaker.
Their groups include:
- Al Amal School for Deaf Students
- Al Wafa School for Developmental Training
- Sharjah Autism Center
- Early Intervention Center
- Physical & Occupational Therapy Department
- Vocational Rehabilitation
- Sharjah City Audiology Center
- Emirates Special Art Group
Contact: +971 6 567 1117 | +971 6 566 0667
Manzil will provide a highly professional care-giving and learning environment for individuals with special needs to nurture their potential & develop the requisite self-help, social, educational, and vocational skills that are required to function in society.
The Modern International Centre for Speech
The Modern International Centre for Speech (MICS) offers speech therapy on a one to one basis for those suffering from genetic deficiencies, hearing impairments, learning disabilities, stuttering and other speech impediments resulting from aphasia, articulation disorders, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dysarthria, and nasality. Includes therapy in Arabic, English, and Hindi.
Contact: +971 6 553 6344
Wilson Centre for Child Development and Rehabilitation
In 2001, the centre's founder Sheena Wilson decided to bring her love and understanding of child development to the UAE. She began by growing a team who shared her passion for child development, they then began delivering their unique service.
Throughout the years, the Wilson Centre for Child Development and Rehabilitation has helped nurture the growth of many of the UAE's children. The results speak for themselves, as many of the first children have completed university and working in full-time occupations.
Contact: +971 6 538 3114