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Schools for kids with Learning Difficulties

Schools for kids with Learning Difficulties

Old Jul 21st 2015, 7:13 am
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Exclamation Schools for kids with Learning Difficulties

Hi all,
we live in Bahrain and my kids attend to one of the most preferred British school here. The issue is with my son, who has symptoms of ADHD and learning difficulties. We got him assessed and the result is that he would be best catered in mainstream school with special provision for him. So we are going to hire a shadow teacher for him, next year.

The problem is that the school he attends has reluctantly accepted this solution as a try for next school year, and strongly suggest him to move to other schools, possibly a special needs one, against the opinion of the psycologyst.

We are really unsure what to do, and consider moving back in the UK because we see that here in the Middle East the school system is not able to cater for children like mine. What are your experiences with schools in the region? Is Dubai any better for cases like mine?

thanks for any comment
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Old Jul 21st 2015, 9:58 am
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Default Re: Schools for kids with Learning Difficulties

Originally Posted by acer100 View Post
Hi all,
we live in Bahrain and my kids attend to one of the most preferred British school here. The issue is with my son, who has symptoms of ADHD and learning difficulties. We got him assessed and the result is that he would be best catered in mainstream school with special provision for him. So we are going to hire a shadow teacher for him, next year.

The problem is that the school he attends has reluctantly accepted this solution as a try for next school year, and strongly suggest him to move to other schools, possibly a special needs one, against the opinion of the psycologyst.

We are really unsure what to do, and consider moving back in the UK because we see that here in the Middle East the school system is not able to cater for children like mine. What are your experiences with schools in the region? Is Dubai any better for cases like mine?

thanks for any comment
First off let's just say I know where you are coming from and have some firsthand experience with this. We are in similar territory regarding symptoms of ADHD (fine) and the recommendation is to stay in normal school with special provisions (also fine). However then you jump straight to 'we are going to hire a shadow teacher' (holy crap!)

Shadow teachers are from my understanding normally only allowed (not sure when they are recommended) if the child is completely off the charts in terms of ADHD or has pretty severe autism (or any similar condition). The typical school response to finding out a child has ADHD and learning difficulties is that the SEN teacher will put more help in the class to assist the child when needed and there are guidelines issued to all teachers who deal with the child detailing how to deal and how to help them learn.

Sorry to seem harsh. It is definitely not my intention, but as I'm sure you are aware some parents are known to overreact when it comes to their kids and thereby harm them more than help them. Finding out that your child has 'issues' is a pretty big shock to the system, but handling the shock right is going affect the child for the rest of their life. Are you sure that your son needs a shadow teacher? Don't forget there is also a fair bit of stigma involved...

Dubai is no worse or better than UK when it comes to SEN, but some schools are more 'understanding' and are known to accept certain cases that are rejected everywhere else. Shadow teachers do exist in some schools and because the schools profits from this arrangement they do not have a problem.

Last edited by norsk; Jul 21st 2015 at 10:51 am.
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Old Jul 21st 2015, 1:09 pm
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Default Re: Schools for kids with Learning Difficulties

Thanks for your reply Norsk, what I need is honest, straightforward opinion about the system.
Important thing that I did not say is that the school that my son attends has accepted to keep my son on condition that we hire a shadow teacher. Otherwise they will not keep him. I agree 200% with you that my son does not need somebody all the time with him. It is the school that is not able to cope with the situation and want extra help, which clearly does not cost anything to them.

This is why we see no way out other than leave everything here, and move back to the UK. But will it be better there?
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Old Jul 21st 2015, 1:25 pm
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Default Re: Schools for kids with Learning Difficulties

Originally Posted by acer100 View Post
Thanks for your reply Norsk, what I need is honest, straightforward opinion about the system.
Important thing that I did not say is that the school that my son attends has accepted to keep my son on condition that we hire a shadow teacher. Otherwise they will not keep him. I agree 200% with you that my son does not need somebody all the time with him. It is the school that is not able to cope with the situation and want extra help, which clearly does not cost anything to them.

This is why we see no way out other than leave everything here, and move back to the UK. But will it be better there?
Phew! I was actually a bit nervous after writing my response in case I had stepped over the line. So thanks for not biting my head off. Talking about your kids gets very sensitive...

Right. Yes that is a piece of important information. Sounds surprising that they would do such a thing unless they are completely green when it comes to SEN.

I used to live in Bahrain and know from experience that one of the two British schools is several times better than the other, both from a professionalism point of view and reputation of teachers/staff. Let's call it the original as the other school 'grew' out of it if I remember the story correctly.

As far as I am aware the original is very supportive and knowledgeable with SEN. In fact I know of someone who has a child there getting special support.

UK is not all it's cracked up to be in terms of SEN to be honest especially for us expats. Unless you are already in the school when the child is assessed it seems very challenging. And like everywhere some schools are much better in supporting kids with SEN than others.

If the issue is severe there is something called Statement of Special Education Needs which can be procured (not entirely clear how) which usually gives the child top priority for entry into schools, but again only a small number of kids have this statement so if your child is only mildly affected it is pointless to chase it...

For UK have a look at this website; Statement of SEN - www.SpecialEducationalNeeds.co.uk
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Old Jul 22nd 2015, 11:46 am
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Default Re: Schools for kids with Learning Difficulties

Thanks Norsk, the link is very good, above all for the timeline to get a SEN. BTW the school were my kids go is the "original" one. LS is good, but limited to very minor cases and mostly provide for academic delays, such as english as second language, moderate delay in reading, writing, nothing more. And they are a very small group.
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Old Jul 22nd 2015, 2:55 pm
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Default Re: Schools for kids with Learning Difficulties

Originally Posted by acer100 View Post
Thanks Norsk, the link is very good, above all for the timeline to get a SEN. BTW the school were my kids go is the "original" one. LS is good, but limited to very minor cases and mostly provide for academic delays, such as english as second language, moderate delay in reading, writing, nothing more. And they are a very small group.
Okay. That surprises me, but I live to learn.
Good luck!
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Old Jul 27th 2015, 3:44 am
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Default Re: Schools for kids with Learning Difficulties

There is one school that specialises in children with special needs in Bahrain. It even has children attending it who live in Saudi Arabia. It's called the Children's Academy and it's near the British School in Hamala. It was started by the royal family after calls for a school to focus on this area of education.

THere is a huge amount of support for special needs there with very low student - teacher ratios. The school covers infants through to teens.

If you want more details check out The Children's Academy | Holding The World In Our Hands

I've got a bit of insider knowledge on this one as my significant other works there and was herself a SENCO in the UK prior to coming here
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