Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia –December 06, 2015 – The Special Education Department in Dar Al-Hekma University organized the second “Our Contribution Transcended” annual seminar on December 02 and 03 on the university’s campus. The event aimed to serve the community by spreading awareness and by improving the quality of services provided in the field of special education. More than 650 women attended the seminar; who were mainly general and special education teachers, supervisors, superintendents and principals from public and private schools in Jeddah.
“Our Contribution Transcended” seminar was scheduled to coincide with the celebration of the International Exceptional Children’s Day. This is the second seminar after last year’s first event when the students majoring in learning disability organized a workshop for general education teachers which triggered this annual seminar. After gaging the need for special education in the community, Dar Al-Hekma University started the two day intensive seminar that focuses on issues that are related to learning difficulties and ways to address and deal with them in schools.
One of the most important goals of the seminar is developing the professional performance for those working in the educational field. This has been achieved through general and specialized workshops that were provided for general and special education teachers and the general education supervisors to development the skills of the service providers for people with special needs (learning difficulties). The other goal was to bridge the gap between general and special education to achieve the integration of disciplines. This has been achieved by the panel discussion between the supervisors of general and special education regarding the current and desired situation for people with learning difficulties. Several topics were discussed to reach a midpoint that allows providing the best level of service for people with learning difficulties in schools.
The seminar lasted for two days; the first day consisted of 13 workshops that were designed for special and general education teachers and educational supervisors. More than 250 teachers and supervisors attended these workshops. During the second day, Dar Al-Hekma University organized a panel discussion with panelists who are special or general education experts. The discussion covered several topics that included “The General Education Teacher’s Role with Special Education Students”, “Multidisciplinary Team Cooperation”, “Interference Between Referral, Diagnosis and Treatment Plan” and “Learning Difficulties Correction Methods”. More than 400 supervisors, superintendents and principals from primary, middle and secondary schools in Jeddah attended the panel discussion that lasted more than three hours.
“Our Contribution Transcended” was supported by Saudi Airlines to help attract the largest number of attendees by providing valuable gifts that were presented to lecturers and attendees during the two-day event.
Part of the event was displaying the senior students’ educational posters. These posters were based on intensive research and tackled different special education topics; the posters visualized topic like how to identify some learning difficulties and shared the best strategies to deal with them.
Research shows that learning disability is one of the highest incidents in the community as it reached 5-10 percent in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Moreover, individuals with learning disabilities have an average to above average intellectual abilities. Therefore, the spreading of learning disabilities requires community awareness and understanding of the consequences of inaction. This is done through the school community in detection, identification and handling the learning disabilities correctly. Thus, Dar Al-Hekma University is sharing the methods, strategies and tools schools need to detect these cases and deal with them.
Therefore, Dar Al-Hekma University organized “Our Contribution Transcended” in December to celebrate the International Exceptional Children Day and to spread the knowledge and awareness about learning disabilities to insure equal opportunities are provided to all students.