The Ministry of Community Development issued “Family Services Guide of UAE Early Intervention Program” which includes steps to help customers receive early intervention services for children under six years old at the people of determination centers and early intervention centers of the Ministry of Community Development.
Excellency Nasser Ismail, Assistant Undersecretary of Social Welfare, said: “The Ministry noted that the purpose of the guide is to simplify the procedures for the people of determination children and parents, and developmental delay categories as early as possible with less efforts, through the ministry’s website: www.mocd.gov.ae. The guide explains in a smooth and simplified way the procedures for obtaining the services step by step and a detailed explanation of each step of the early intervention services. These services make it easier for parents to pre-imagine the necessary and anticipated future services for their children during the first six years of their lives while recognizing their roles during the early intervention process”.
Excellency Nasser Ismail noted that the guide divides the early intervention services into seven main stages beginning with the referral to the early intervention program through (Nomow), a smart application, or through families and healthcare centers. The second stage assigns a service coordinator for the family to educate parents about early intervention program, its importance and role. The third stage focuses on the assessment of children by a multidisciplinary team, identifying strength and weaknesses points that each child needs and recommendations based on a treatment plan. The fourth stage includes setting an individual plan for each family or child benefiting from the early intervention program. The fifth stage is linked to the mechanism of provided services for each child according to their needs and their family members. The stage includes training parents and enabling them develop their children's skills at home and other natural environments.
The sixth stage of the “Family Services Guide” for UAE Intervention Program was found to ensure that the plans achieve their goals and reassessment development objectives, set up new therapeutic and educational goals that accommodate the new developmental progress of the child. The seventh stage is a transition stage of children to inclusion surroundings or to the people of determination centers in collaboration with the family to achieve the required outcomes of the early childhood intervention.
The guide contained an introduction to the customers, about the aims and goals of the early childhood intervention program and its importance for the family and child, types of cases targeted by early intervention, contact numbers with the intervention centers all over the UAE, in addition to introducing customers with their rights and duties while receiving early intervention services.
It is noted that the Ministry of Community Development began its first early intervention services at Ras Al Khaimah in 2010 targeting children with confirmed disabilities, development delay and those vulnerable to development delay, through training and counselling services for families, some through field visits and special education services for children through classrooms. These services extended to the Emirate of Dubai through the Early Intervention Centre in Dubai and then Fujairah.
The ultimate goal of early childhood intervention is to ensure that parents and important people in a child's life are able to provide them with interactive experiences and opportunities that will help him acquire and use the necessary skills for participation in everyday life. Early childhood is the time for significant brain growth, during which learning and development are at their fastest stage. Therefore, the future development of the child depends on the first learning experiences in his early years.
The Ministry of Community Development recognizes that the families of children who are most aware of their conditions and who have the greatest impact on their development and growth. Therefore, support and experiences for the child at his early years shape his future development and can also help him develop, learn and participate in daily life activities. Receiving early support in the child’s early life can reduce the amount of support needed for them at a later date. The first years of a child's life are also critical to the family as a whole, as the family begins to learn how to support and raise a child, in order to meet their needs, and adapt to the presence of a child among its members with disabilities or developmental delays.