Ministry of Community Development Initiates Enrollment for POD Students for the 2024/2025 Academic Year

The Ministry of Community Development has started accepting registrations for People of Determination (POD) students for the upcoming academic year 2024/2025. Registration will be open from April 15th to June 28th, and interested individuals can apply through the ministry’s website.

This enrollment opportunity is specifically for children with certain disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, autism, and multiple disabilities where intellectual disability is present alongside other disabilities. These students are collectively referred to as People of Determination, emphasizing their resilience and capabilities.

Families of eligible students are encouraged to register during the specified period to secure admission for the next academic year. The ministry wants to give People of Determination access to equitable educational opportunities so they can succeed both academically and socially. To that end, it provides the necessary resources and support.

In the last academic year, which was from 2022 to 2023, around 53 students graduated. These students had been receiving support from rehabilitation and educational services. These services were designed to help them improve their skills in different areas and become more involved in social activities. The goal was to empower them and ensure that they felt fully included in society.

People of Determination centers offer an array of services to support people with disabilities. These services aim to address various aspects of their development and well-being.

  1. Physical and Occupational Therapy

These therapies focus on improving motor skills and enhancing physical abilities. While physical therapy concentrates on building muscle and increasing mobility, occupational therapy assists patients in learning everyday living skills.

  1. Speech Therapy

Individuals can enhance their speech, language, and swallowing abilities with the use of speech therapy. This service is beneficial for individuals with speech impediments or difficulties.

  1. Psychological Assessment and Behavior Modification

Psychological assessments help identify individuals’ strengths and challenges, while behavior modification services aim to address behavioral issues and promote positive behavior patterns.

  1. Educational Classes

These classes focus on enhancing cognitive skills and general life skills. They may cover subjects such as math, reading, writing, and social skills to help individuals succeed academically and socially.

  1. Vocational Rehabilitation Services

The goal of vocational rehabilitation programs is to provide determined individuals with the professional abilities necessary for success in the workforce. These services, which aid people in finding work and developing their independence, could include career guidance, job training, and help with job placement.

Children under the age of six who have verified disabilities, or developmental delays, or are at risk of developing delays can receive rehabilitation services from the ministry’s Early Intervention centers and units. These services aim to lessen the impact of disabilities on the child and their family and reduce the chances of developmental delays becoming permanent disabilities.

The centers provide support for children with various conditions, including physical, sensory, or communication-related issues. They work to enhance the child’s abilities and provide assistance tailored to their needs.

In addition to direct services for kids, the centers also educate families and involve them in training programs. These programs focus on enhancing children’s cognitive, communication, social, and physical skills. By engaging families in the process, the centers aim to create a supportive environment that fosters the child’s development and well-being.

The Emirates Early Intervention Program conducts an annual assessment to identify children nearing the age of inclusion, typically around four years old. Once identified, a specialized team, along with the child’s family, collaboratively decides to enroll the child in an intensive rehabilitation program to prepare them for inclusion.

During this process, an individual change plan is designed for each child. This plan outlines specific educational goals that are expected to be achieved within six months before the child’s inclusion begins. These goals are tailored to the child’s unique needs and abilities, with input from the specialized team, family, and other relevant stakeholders.

After the transition plan is implemented, an evaluation is conducted to assess the outcomes and determine the extent to which the educational goals have been achieved. This evaluation is carried out in collaboration with the Emirates Schools Establishment, ensuring a comprehensive assessment of the child’s progress and readiness for inclusion.

By following this structured approach, the Emirates Early Intervention Program aims to facilitate a smooth transition for children from rehabilitation programs to inclusive educational settings. This process ensures that each child receives the required support and resources to flourish in an inclusive learning atmosphere, promoting their overall development and well-being.

Every year, the process of including students in public education is carried out in partnership with the Emirates Schools Establishment. Eligible students are nominated and evaluated for inclusion, with guardians required to register electronically. Staff members at People of Determination centers oversee the process in collaboration with the support committee.

The nominated cases are evaluated by qualified members of the Emirates Schools Establishment support committee in accordance with predetermined norms and criteria. If the student meets the assessment criteria, they are placed in the appropriate stage of education based on their abilities and age. This guarantees that every student gets appropriate instruction catered to their unique requirements and aptitudes.

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