Dubai: The United Arab Emirates-based school group GEMS Education announced on Monday that it is introducing a new initiative called “GEMS Link” to improve inclusion at school.
Through GEMS Link, students will have access to a dedicated team of therapists, licensed by the Dubai Health Authority, who offer speech therapy and occupational therapy services. All therapies, available to GEMS families at a significantly reduced cost, will take place on school premises. The GEMS Link team will work with the educator team and each child’s parents.
The program was launched “in response to the need to end stigma and promote the rights of students with additional needs,” GEMS Education said.
Speech therapy supports children and adolescents with their speech, language and communication needs using individualized “evidence-based” assessment, observation and intervention programs. These programs may have areas focusing on speech sounds, fluency, oral motor skill development, and social communication.
Occupational therapy, on the other hand, develops and improves a child’s motor, sensory, behavioral, cognitive and social skills. Interventions are “age-appropriate and multi-disciplinary, with the main aim being to enable children to participate in daily activities”.
Philip Thompson, Head of Inclusion, GEMS Education, said: “We are committed to providing our students with the right support at the right time. Our new GEMS Link services are designed to provide students with the specialist support they need to succeed in their learning journey. By providing a multi-disciplinary team on-site, offering holistic, integrated curriculum-linked assessment, observation and review programs, we aim to ensure that students have access to the most effective strategies that prepare them for adulthood. .
GEMS Link will initially be rolled out to four GEMS schools: GEMS Founders School – Dubai, GEMS Founders School – Al Mizhar, GEMS Cambridge International School – Dubai and GEMS Metropole School – Motor City.
Matthew Burfield, who oversees these four schools in his capacity as Vice President – Education at GEMS Education and Principal/CEO of GEMS Founders School – Dubai, said: “Inclusion has always been incredibly close to my heart as a teacher and headteacher. I have the honor and privilege of leading a large and diverse group of seven schools across the UAE, whose leaders all share this sentiment. This fantastic initiative will bring together the services our the most vulnerable children need our schools and therefore our children This is an incredibly exciting program which I am sure will soon expand to the rest of the schools in Dubai and beyond .
Nav Iqbal, Principal/CEO, GEMS Metropole School – Motor City, said, “Parents and their children who need to access services provided through the GEMS Link program will no longer need to travel long distances or to pay high fees for these services. . It is our duty as an education provider to offer services that take advantage of and build on the capacity of our school, to improve its ability to meet the needs of diverse student populations and with better access and better quality for our most vulnerable students.
Akram Tarik, Principal/CEO of GEMS Founders School – Al Mizhar, said, “The GEMS Link program will not only benefit our children’s communication and language understanding, but it will also play a crucial role in the development of preparing our children for life and their ability to fulfill its potential. The collaboration between the four GEMS Link schools, our children, their families and other education professionals will help us to further develop personalized strategies to meet the individual needs of each child.