International school for autistic child near JLT Dubai

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International school for autistic child near JLT Dubai

Postby goldenmaiden » 26 Dec 2014, 08:20


I am new to this forum. I am from the states and right now I'm in Dubai with family for our vacation and also to check out the place and stuff since we'll be moving here next March. We'll be residing in a Lake Jumeirah Apt and it looks lovely and I loved the place. It's so beautiful and the people are warm and friendly.

I have a small concern though .. Our 4 year old son is autistic and I have no idea about International schools for children with special needs. Can someone on this forum recommend few good schools specially for kids with special needs.
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Joined: 26 Dec 2014, 06:49

Re: Jumeirah Lake Towers special needs schools

Postby shawarma » 26 Dec 2014, 12:48

I guess you mean Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) area.

There aren't any schools in JLT itself, but a few nearby in Jebel Ali Gardens (or The Gardens), and Emirates Hills or Emirates Living district (The Meadows, The Springs etc). Further away in Al Barsha, Dubai Motor City, Arabian Ranches, but most don't accept special needs children as far as I know. Try asking anyway, a short email or telephone call doesn't cost you much.

There was an Autism Trust Foundation School (ATF) planned in Dubai but I don't know anything further than the plans announced in 2013.

Generally there are few special needs options for expat foreigners in the UAE. Government run facilities are for Emirati students.

There are some support groups and centers - Dubai Autism Center, Dubai Center for Special Needs, Al Noor Center for Special Needs, Early Childhood Medical Intervention Center (not a school, privately run clinic in Dubai Healthcare City for Autism children and other special needs).

British Institute for Learning Development (BILD) was for special needs but closed under a cloud, a new institute established in its place called The Oasis School in Dubai but they give conflicting information about whether or not they cater to special needs children.

A few mainstream private international schools indicate they accept special needs students but don't assume they are as well resourced for autistic children as you might find schools are where you come from. Try contacting them directly by email as a first step, or a phone call to someone involved in any special needs department they might have, and form an opinion based on that. Especially try to visit the school while you're here, although it might be difficult contacting anyone because many schools will be closed for the holiday. Consider trying to extend your stay in Dubai by a couple days so you can visit them. At least go to the school locations to see where they are, even just looking at a building will give you an impression. And go there from your JLT apartment location at the same time as your son would normally go to school and return from school so you get some idea of traffic conditions (assume it's worse than what you see when school holidays end). But don't drive anywhere after 5pm on New Year's Eve.

You say it's only "a small concern" so perhaps that means your child needs relatively little additional care or attention at school, in which case you might find somewhere more than suitable. But at least try contacting one of the autism support groups here and get some feedback from them.

Here's a list of nurseries, schools, groups for autism and special needs students in Dubai:

Following list is a few school names in Dubai which apparently accept special needs children, not a recommended list. But don't be surprised if you contact them and they say no - information changes, sometimes schools say things they don't mean, etc.

  • Greenfield Community School - in Dubai Investments Park, not so far from JLT but access to and from the community can be annoyingly slow at peak traffic times. Would be my second or third choice in this list.
  • Kings' College - planned school in the list but plans for school probably abandoned and replaced by the new Kings' School branches in Nad Al Sheba (far from JLT) and Al Barsha (closer to JLT). Don't know if they'll accept autistic children. Expensive UK curriculum schools. Might be my first choice if they accept autistic children and I had unlimited funds or someone else was paying for my child's education.
  • GEMS Millennium School - an Indian school so worth considering if you're Indian, not if you're not.
  • Mirdif Private School - US curriculum school for Arab and/or Muslim students, long way from JLT.
  • Philadelphia Private School - US curriculum school for Arab and/or Muslim students, long way from JLT.
  • Royal Dubai School - UK western expats, British school, far from JLT. Except for distance, probably my suggested third or second choice in this list after Raffles. But not an international or US curriculum if that's what your looking for. To be honest, for a 4 year old, I don't think you'll find it makes much difference whether he's in a US or UK curriculum school. Whether it's an Indian, Arab, or Western school will make much more difference.
  • Raffles International School - possibly one of the choices for a mainstream school if they accept autistic children (would be my first choice if limited to the list above but I hesitate to recommend it outright). Mixed reports about parent satisfaction generally, expensive at higher levels, location not close but no so far either from JLT. More international than any others in this list. The school owner has a few other schools in Dubai so they might also be possibilities - Raffles World Academy and Collegiate American School or something like that.

Also consider the newer schools, their omission from the special needs list might be because the list isn't up to date. Newer schools generally have more places available so might be more flexible about which students they accept.

Good luck, and please reply with an update regarding anything you find out, especially if any of this information is incorrect or out of date. Thanks.
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Reach Out Autism Center in JLT

Postby shawarma » 22 Nov 2015, 17:47

An update to this topic. The Reach Out Autism Center which was in Knowledge Village has moved to JLT.
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