Problem: Marginalization and exclusion of children with development challenges as a consequence of social, cultural, attitudinal and physical obstacles impeding their access to inclusive education.
Solution: A leading technology driven educational center that provides a variety of specialized programs including behavioral therapy, educational support for children and young adults with a variety of learning difficulties, cognitive challenges and developmental delays.
Goals and objectives: To provide an enabling environment for individuals facing various developmental challenges and support them with the necessary life skills, academics, technology, vocational training, coaching and job placement needed for social inclusion.
Implementation: Maharat Learning Center (MLC) was founded by dentist Dr. Hibah Shata whom found it difficult to secure a special nursery school that provides speech and occupational therapy for her autistic daughter under the age of 3. By 2008 Dr. Shata business plan led to the establishment of medical center that provided services to infants with special needs. By 2010 Dr, Shata founded the Child Learning and Enrichment Medical Centre to offer a learning day program for children who were not yet in mainstream schools, and in 2017 her third center, she founded Maharat Learning Centre, a behavioral intervention and school inclusion support service provider to help children succeed in mainstream education. MLC today provides educational support to special-needs children and youngsters up to the age of 25 whom suffer from dyslexia, dyscalculia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder and other disabilities hindering their inclusion in their communities.
MLC provides individualized educational, development and behavioral assessments, one-on-one behavioral therapy, tutoring, school shadowing, support services and trainings. By employing assistive technology, augmentative alternative communication and Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) therapy MLC is able to provide its pupils the academic, social and life skills needed to be integrated in society and succeed in life. MLC’s interventions are also backed up by inclusion support services and shadow teaching during the transition period. A pioneer in the Middle East and North Africa, its services are provided in both Arabic and English which typically last from one to several years. MLC offers an alternative education programme for life skills, with a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:2, for those pupils that are unable to integrate into mainstream schools.
Achievements: MLC campaigning via conferences, symposium’s and workshops has influenced the Dubai school system to integrate special needs children. Dubai is on track to implement its inclusive city 2020 strategy which obliges all its schools to welcome 10 percent student with special needs.
Currently 84 children are enrolled in MLC training programmes which have been certified by Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority. 70 percent of MLC students have been included in mainstream schools and its revenue exceeded $2 million and has opened an office in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for further expansion.
Dr. Shata is a recipient of several awards, including Dubai Healthcare City Authority’s Award for the Best Pediatric Rehabilitation Centre in 2017, Dubai Health Authority’s Excellence Award in 2018 and its Female Leader of the Year title in 2018, and, in 2019 the global Cartier Women's Initiative Award.
Contact details: Marsa Plaza, HP011, Ground Floor Dubai
Phone: +9714 288 8104