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Special Needs and Gifted Students

The Ministry of Education and Higher Education provides educational programs for students with special needs and gifted students, under the supervision of the Special Needs Education and Gifted Care Department.

These programs are developed to provide educational opportunities that meet the individual needs and capabilities of each student. They also motivate students to contribute effectively to society. These programs are based on educational and psychological assessments to determine the suitable school and best educational services.

Students with special needs

Students with special needs are generally defined as students with learning, physical, or developmental disabilities and students with behavioral, emotional and communications disorders.

Students with special needs are either enrolled within their public schools or in specialized schools, depending on the services needed and the severity of the disability.

Within the regular local school setting, public schools provide services that support students' needs through remedial plans. They also provide arrangements and facilities for evaluation, school environment or classroom activities.

Local public schools provide integration services for students with autism and intellectual disabilities. These schools are equipped with resource rooms, programs, services and specialists that serve students and enhance their academic and independence capabilities, each according to the goals stated in their individual plan.

Specialized schools provide intensive services for students with special needs and offer an integrated specialized team approach. These schools include:

  • Al-Hidaya Schools for students with intellectual disabilities and students with autism, offering integrated services that are provided through a multidisciplinary team
  • Schools for the deaf and hearing impaired that are designed to serve students with hearing impairments, provide them with appropriate educational services and help them gain the skills and knowledge to achieve academically

Individualized Study Plans

There are educational programs provided for special needs students that are determined through individual educational plans in the context of their local school. One of these programs adapts the curricula according to the educational goals specified in the individual educational plan for the student. This is offered for students with intellectual disabilities, autism disorders or students with disabilities accompanied with decrease in cognitive abilities. The educational and support services are provided to the students in the resource rooms.

A second program provides the general curriculum approved by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education without any change or modification to students who have various kinds of learning difficulties. These include academic delay, students with minor and moderate hearing impairment and students with cochlear implants. They also include students with visual impairment and cerebral palsy. The general curriculum is offered in the classroom and in resource rooms in all public schools.

Gifted Students Support

In order to meet the needs of gifted students, the Ministry is establishing a framework to identify, support and nurture talents at the different educational stages. This framework includes discovering and preparing developmental plans for gifted students, monitoring their development and ensuring their continuity as they progress through their education. It also includes providing special programs based on best practices, tools, and methods of evaluation and identification of talent and abilities as well as helping teachers and parents discover and support gifted students.