UAE pre-school chain promotes inclusive learning environment

UAE pre-school chain promotes inclusive learning environment

Introduces screenings for early identification of children at risk of developmental delays

Initiative endeavors to create a healthy, nurturing and safe learning setting for all children in line with Dubai Disability Strategy 2020


30 January 2018; Dubai, UAE: Developmental screening is an important first step in identifying children at risk of developmental delays, yet many young children fail to receive it. In an effort to help families track growth and appropriate milestones of their children, the British Orchard Nursery has introduced a special developmental screeningat the nursery to identify children at risk of potential problems or delays during normal childhood development.

The early years is when families can best begin to learn how to support and nurture their child, how to meet their child’s needs, and how to adapt positively to having a child with a disability or a developmental delay.When properly applied in pre-school children, it allows improved outcomes due to early implementation of treatment.

“Just as hearing and vision screenings assure that children can hear and see clearly, developmental screening provides a quick look at how children are doing in important areas, such as communication, physical ability, social skills, and problem-solving skills. With the ASQ3 developmental questionnaires, we will screen children in five areas of development: communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving, and personal-social. Each area of development is scored as ‘on schedule’, ‘in need of monitoring’, or ‘in need of a referral’ for more specialized assessment,” said Kate Hedger– Special Educational Needs Coordinator at British Orchard Nursery.

“In our endeavor to create a healthy, nurturing and inclusive learning environment, we have initiated this screening program in all our 18 branches across UAE. Through the program our teachers and caregivers will constantly work with parents to help identify any issues with children’s growth and will work together in addressing the concerns without any delays. The ASQ3 tool monitors a child’s progress at monthly intervals starting from 2 months to until 60 months of age which means a child’s progress is monitored in month-wise stages, instead of year-wise stages, providing a closer look at his/her progress” said Dr. Vandana Gandhi, Founder and CEO, British Orchard Nursery.

“Our aim is to create a positive climate and ensure that all our students achieve their appropriate personal, social, emotional and academic goals, and enable each student to fully participate in the learning environment. We are working towards student-centered teaching practices where each child is given targeted and individual support to accelerate learning, progress and development,” added Dr. Gandhi.

Experts believe that frequentobservations and monitoringof a child’s development is extremely essentialduring the early years, as all of their future development is based on the critical learning patterns laid down during this time.

Early identificationof developmental delay not only providestimely therapeutic intervention, but significantly increases the child’s ability to integrate in future social environments, including school, community, and ultimately employment. This is because the developing brain is most capable of change.

The initiative is in support of Dubai Disability Strategy 2020, which aims to secure equal rights for persons with disability, enabling them to live in an inclusive environment with suitable, accessible and quality services.

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