​​​​​​​​​Special Education Needs Department


The SEN Department has been established at the ADNOC School of Abu Dhabi in 2011 and falls in line with the school vision to provide all of its students with an appropriate and efficient education.

Federal Law No. 29 of 2006 was designed to protect the rights of individuals with a disability. It encourages the inclusion and integration of the individuals “with special needs” into whether public or private schools.

The department specializes in inclusion of students with learning difficulties and sets the approach for academic intervention and learning support in that regard.

In addition, the SEN department aims to enable the teaching staff to meet the specific learning needs of students, identify learning difficulties, and access consultation and support.


The goals of the SEN department

SEN department core function

When the school is providing academic intervention and learning support for SEN students, it will follow a Support Cycle for systematic planning. Each step of the Support Cycle is described below. At all steps in the cycle, schools will involve all those with significant information on the student’s needs, as well as those with expertise to assist in planning academic interventions. This includes parents, SEN & Inclusion experts, as well as teachers.

​Pre-referral/ Student Support Committee​:

A group of professionals from different disciplines who form a problem solving team to work together to help students who are experiencing academic and/or behavioral problems The committee meets once a week to generate ideas for intervention and to implement planned intervention strategies. The assessment of the intervention effectiveness for a particular student is based on 2, 4and 6 weeks basis. The SSC is a general pre-referral process which may or may not lead to referral for special education services, the testing and special education placement should be the last resort and should only come after appropriate interventions have been implemented, the results analyzed, and the outcomes found to indicate that further support is required. ​

Assessment of Educational Support Needs:

During the first trimester, the SEN department team will receive pre-referral from the Student Support committee and will conduct observation in the classes. If the teaching staff and the SEN team believe that a student displays learning difficulties, the first step, is a detailed assessment of student needs. An educational curriculum based assessment will be conducted by the SEN experts’ team and the classroom teacher. If the SEN experts judge that the child require a multidisciplinary assessment and intervention ( Speech and language, occupational therapy, psycho-educational), he will be referred to an external agent multidisciplinary team who will be performing standardized assessments on the school site with previous parental consent. The fees of the external agents will be covered by the parents.The Assessment will result in the creation of an Individual Education Plan (IEP). The IEP will describe the student’s individual needs and align those needs with an appropriate curriculum and effective instructional strategies.


Access to Support Services:

Schools are responsible for providing all learning support services called for in the IEP. The School SEN & Inclusion department as well as the teacher’s assistants and classroom teachers will play important roles in providing the required support.



Involves developing a model for delivering instruction based on the Individual Education Plan (IEP). This model includes defining what needs to be taught, how it is going to be taught. The classroom teacher, the assistant teacher and the special educator will be responsible of teaching it within the classroom. If the student requires specific therapy sessions such as; Speech and language therapy/ or occupational therapy may be provided by the external agent staff whether on the school site (within the classroom setting or as a pull out) or externally. A constant and close collaboration will be established with the providers of external services. The latter will be allowed to conduct school visits, classroom observation and team meetings upon the School management consent.


As the IEP is implemented, the teachers and SEN experts should evaluate its effects to determine whether the desired outcomes are being achieved. The formal review meeting must be held at least three times during the school year for all students receiving additional support. Will attend those meetings all the parties involved with the student.


Special Education Categories​

The following categories of disabilities are recognized the by UAE, Ministry of Education as categories of disabilities that qualify a student to receive special education programs and related services, if it can be demonstrated that the disability adversely affects the child’s academic performance:


Specific Learning Disabilities​:

A specific learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language spoken or written that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or perform mathematical calculations and/or mathematical reasoning, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.


Physical and health related disability:

This means physical and health problems which are chronic or severe in a manner that they lead to poor and limited functionality and adversely affect the educational performance of the student such as: (asthma, attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity, diabetes, heart disease, epilepsy, leukemia, cerebral palsy, renal failure, HIV, and head injuries etc).


Sensory Impairment:

Visual impairment: means impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term visual impairment includes both partially sighted and blindness. Hearing impairment including deafness: means an impairment that adversely affects educational performance; may be permanent or fluctuating


Speech and Language Disorders:

Speech and language disorders means having a communication disorder such as stuttering, impaired articulation, language impairment, or a voice impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.


Autism Spectrum Disorders:

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), also known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDDs), cause severe and pervasive impairment in thinking, feeling, language, and the ability to relate to others.


Emotional and Behavioral Disorders:

An emotional and behavioral disorder means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance: (a) an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors; (b) an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers; (c) inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances, (d) a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression, and (e) a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. The term includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.

Intellectual Disabilities:

Intellectual disabilities, means having significantly below average general intellectual functioning, existing along with deficits in adaptive behavior which are manifested during the developmental period and adversely affect a child’s educational performance.

Definition for Gifted and Talented:

Gifted and Talented refers to having outstanding ability, or a great deal of willingness in one or more areas of intelligence, or creativity, or academic achievement or special talents and abilities.


​The term disability and or placement in special education does not apply to students who are experiencing learning problems that are primarily the result of the following circumstances:

  • Environmental factors 

  • Cultural factors including not being a native Arabic speaker 

  • Economic disadvantage Students who have experienced academic failure. ​