UAE Opens Its First Official Down Syndrome Centre

The UAE’s first centre dedicated to the care of children with Down Syndrome has been officially started in Dubai. Already, 10 children have been enrolled at the Dubai Down Syndrome Centre, and a five-year-old child would be joining a mainstream school this September. It has been made possible because of the training and care, which was provided by the centre.

The Dubai Down Syndrome Centre is located in Mirdif and the centre is open to children aged 5 to 18 years. The centre intends to empower the children with Down syndrome so that they may become completely integrated into the community.

The managing director and teacher of social skills at the centre, Ladimari Toledo Hoeppler, informed a leading local daily that they have 10 kids at present, and they are fully registered ones as they come every morning from 9 am and stay till 1.30pm. In the afternoon, we have children who come for certain activities, which falls under other packages.

Kids who are fully registered do the entire curriculum with the centre i.e. horse-riding, PE class, swimming, social skills, speech therapy, life skills and academics. Especially, for small kids, the centre prepares them so well so that they are able to go to a mainstream school. This year, the centre will send its first little one who would be starting his mainstream school. Throughout the year, they worked on improving the attention span of the little one on how to read, write, sit, obey rules and follow instructions during activities.

Hoeppler stated the centre conducts an assessment with each child before they start, as it helps the centre consider at what stage he or she is at. Depending on the assessment, the staff charts out a customized programme within the curriculum for the child. It helps to determine whether the child needs one-on-one help or they’ll be working as a group.

With one of the centre’s enrollees ready to go to a mainstream school, Hoeppler stated that schools need to ensure they are fully inclusive.