DUBAI– 80 parents graduated today(May 10th) from the second Ta’alouf parents training programme. Ta’alouf (harmony in Arabic) is Al Jalila Foundation’s community flagship programme which provides behavioural training to parents of children with special needs. The graduation took place at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Academic Medical Centre and was attended by delegates from Al Jalila Foundation and The British University in Dubai (BUiD), the education partner.
Her Excellency Raja Easa Saleh Al Gurg, Member of the Board of Trustees and Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Al Jalila Foundation, said: “We are delighted to see an increasing number of parents of children with special needs benefitting from Ta’alouf. The continued expansion of this programme is symbolic of our success in delivering on the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who established Al Jalila Foundation to be a global non-profit organisation contributing to the betterment of people’s health in the UAE and beyond. We are also proud to be supporting the leadership’s recent regulation that aims to empower people with disabilities and maximise their participation and integration into the community.”
Dr Abdulkareem Sultan Al Olama, CEO of Al Jalila Foundation, said: “Ta’alouf is growing beyond our expectations and we are on track to deliver the benefits of the programme to more than 800 parents by 2018. We continue to attract more nationalities and a wider base of disabilities as more and more parents are interested in the course. In fact, an increasing number of fathers have joined and are graduating today, testament to the inclusive nature of the programme. The tangible results of the programme and the feedback we are getting from parents could form a good basis for future research that will be conducted by leading scientists when the Al Jalila Foundation Research Centre is operational.”
Professor Abdullah Alshamsi, Vice Chancellor of BUiD, said: “We are proud to be Al Jalila Foundation’s education partner for the Ta’alouf parents training programme, and glad to see it growing from strength to strength. The feedback we are getting from parents is tremendous; it is clear that they are more confident and better equipped to face their challenges, which are mostly related to how they communicate and interact with their children. Today’s graduation means that 80 children with special needs will have a better platform to develop and succeed. We look forward to seeing the long-term effects of the programme and further supporting children with special needs in the UAE.”
An Emirati mother enrolled in the programme commented, “Ta’alouf has impacted my family in many ways. It provided me with the skills needed to support my child’s development, as well as access to a great knowledge sharing and support network. Discussing shared challenges with other parents is a great educational tool by itself. We thank Al Jalila Foundation for offering us this opportunity and The British University in Dubai for their continued support.”
An Irish parent of a child with Autism spoke about the lack of information and guidance available on the internet for parents of children with special needs. “Most of the websites provide information about how to recognise the symptoms, but they all led me to believe that my child is disabled and that I have to deal with him as if he is hopeless and would never change. However, after attending the Ta’alouf training programme, I learned that my child’s major challenge is communicating with me and the rest of the world. The training gave me the key to enter his world and to communicate with him properly – it changed both our lives.”
Al Jalila Foundation’s Ta’alouf parents training programme is delivered by Professor Eman Gaad, Dean of Faculty of Education and a professor of special and inclusive education at BUiD. The programme aims to foster a unified society where children with special needs rise above what they cannot do, and are enabled to have a positive impact on society. Recent reports suggest that there are more than 6,000 children with special needs in Dubai alone, and the figure is constantly rising.