| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
At the beginning of the program, in order to identify the beneficiary students, the SED cooperated with head of schools, learning disabilities teachers, and parents who were concerning about their children situation and poor academic performance, in the identification process according to the achievement tests, assessment of language skills, assessment of social skills and all student data.
Referral and Assessment:
Students were referred to psychiatry hospital to be diagnosed according to standardized test (Standford-Binet intelleigence scale) to distinguish mild intellectual disability from learning disability or emotional/behavioral disorders. Children with mild intellectual disability scored (IQ 50–69) and who are capable of learning reading and mathematics skills to approximately the level of a typical child aged nine to twelve. They can learn self-care and practical skills, such as cooking or using the local mass transit system. As individuals with intellectual disability reach adulthood, many learn to live independently and maintain gainful employment. Thus, this category were chosen to benefit from the program.
The SED cooperated with the curriculum directorate to form a working committee that consisted of a variety of experiences to discuss the program and go through the experinces of inclusion in other regions to develop a curriculum, which meets students' needs.
The implementation of the program:
- The students are integrated in public schools in private classes, and each class includes (10) students maximum and (2) special needs teacher, however students are integrated with other regular students in activities lessons such as music, sports .. etc.
- At the beginning of the academic year, teachers assess the students individually and determine strengths and weaknesses in the cognitive skills, academic skills and activities of daily living skills.
- Determine long and short-term goals for each student.
- Determine the supportive services that might be needed for each student.
- Suggest the evaluation method and set the time for evaluation.
- Create activities and modify the curriculum in a way that suits the students' abilities and meet their needs.
- Integrate students who achieved their goals and developed their skills in regular classes with other students and supervise them regularly.
- Organizing visits between teachers to share their experiences and develop the process of learning and teaching.
- Transfer students to psychologists for further diagnosis if needed.
- Participation in all events and activities that take place in schools with other students.
The academic plan consists of the following subjects: Islamic education, Arabic, English, science, mathematics, cultural studies, sports … etc.
The students attend (25) lessons per week, (5) lessons a day, including the rehabilitation plan for the students who are in inclusion classes in intermediate schools.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
form a working committee that consisted of a variety of experiences to base a curriculum that meets the students' abilities and needs.
- Directorate of services: provision of assistant worker in schools that implementing the program to assist students in using toilets, eating … etc.
- Directorate of information technology: provision of computers, data show, smart board … etc.
- Directorate of social rehabilitation in ministry of social development: referral of students who are over the age of 15 years old to rehabilitation centers.
- Directorate of human resources: employment of qualified teachers every academic year.
- Arabian Gulf University: conducting courses and workshops to train teachers.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The budget under all the heads shown below were allocated under the MOE budget.
In the start of every academic year, 500 BD is transferred to each school implementing the program and the special education teachers have the responsibility to plan the their expenses of the budgets according to the students' needs.
The total number of qualified special education teachers for students with mild intellectual disability are (129) (1 teacher to 5 students) and (53) assistant workers.
- In the cooperation of all concerned directorates of the ministry of education, the classes are supplied with all the needs for example, computers, data show, smart board, tables with U shape for group work, teaching aids, furniture, … etc.
- The inclusion classrooms are decorated in a way that does not create distraction and sensory overload.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
- Developed the academic level of the integrated students as some of them have been integrated in regular classes according to the teachers' assessments, as some of the students reach their academic goals in certain subjects.
- Assuring that all schools and grades-level placements are age-appropriate rather than serving students with disabilities in age-inappropriate setting by placing older students in primary settings or younger students in secondary settings.
- Transfer students who are over 15 years old in intermediate schools to the rehabilitation center in collaboration with social development ministry.
- Inclusion contributes in preparing students to engage in social life and find opportunities to engage and participate with others in the community and therefore find better chances for employment. Also teaching the students and developing their academic level will increase their chances in finding suitable jobs with better income.
- The negative effects of labeling and lack of familiarity are decreased as they will be
- Young and school age children have opportunities to learn from and share experiences with each other. This includes positive models for learning, communication and behaviors.
- Encouraging and implementing activities that promote the development of relationships with others and social skills Allowed students who are not able to fully participate in social life and schools with others to partially participate, rather than excluded entirely.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
- All teachers are supervised by special education specialists from the SED who visit the schools regularly to ensure that appropriate educational strategies are implemented. Moreover, head of schools are responsible of supervising teachers by attending the inclusion classes.
- SED requesting annual reports of the program, visits reports, and reports about the students' level. Also the IEP for every students are followed up by supervisors in collaboration with the parents and head of schools is some cases.
- Ongoing assessments are being conducted to assess the students according to the short and long-term goals to find their weaknesses and strengths.
- Regular meetings are taking place between parents, teachers and presenters from SED if needed to monitor the progress of students and modify the IEP if any problems occur.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
- Absence of appropriate diagnosis center to work in relation with SED to identify the students by implementing scales and measurements. And in order to solve this problem, the SED cooperate with school health center in assessing the students to put them in suitable place and this causes delay in the diagnosis process. Also they lack of standardized psychological scales that can be used for diagnostic purposes, including measures of intelligence, learning difficulties and developmental academy.
However, the SED is seeking an approval to work in collaboration with ministry of social development regarding the referral of students to Abdulla Bin Ali Kanoo center that is specialized in the diagnosis and evaluation of disabilities, and therefore the students will be assessed appropriately by professional who work in a team to have an accurate diagnosis.
- At the beginning of implementing the program in public schools, parents of regular students did not accept the idea of integrating students with mild mental disability with their children, due to the lack of knowledge about disability.
Thus the SED conducted awareness workshops and produced brochures about mild intellectual disability and down syndrome and how inclusion can benefit regular students socially through the increased personal growth, appreciation and acceptance of other children, feelings of accomplishments as they provide assistance to others, and improved understanding of disability-related issues.
- Absence of database of teachers, students and program that should be linked between schools and SED, as it is necessary to have a database system that should contain all the information needed regarding the students' details, reports, … etc.
At present, the SED is seeking to solve this problem in collaboration with the directorate of information technology.
- Absence of a designed curriculum that suits the differences in the students' abilities and meet their needs.
At present, according to the increased number of inclusion classes and students, the SED Seeks to provide a new curriculum in collaboration with the integrated curricula for education services and special needs services company in Kuwait.