Dubai: Thirteen-year-old Abu Bakr Shaikh Al Alawi recently joined a public school after his parents battled fiercely for over four years to convince the authorities that he is fit to be in a mainstream school.
“My son is very talented. He memorised the Quran and won a lot of prizes and passed his exams set by the Ministry of Education. So I questioned myself: why can’t he be enrolled in a regular school?” asked his Emirati father.
The ministry agreed to integrate Abu Bakr, a child with autism, on condition that a special tutor monitors his progress in school and at home, said his father.
He said he finally found a teacher in Saudi Arabia. “Even though it is the duty of the ministry to cater to the needs of my son I had to find him a teacher for him to get accepted into a regular school,” said the father.
Abu Bakr is the first child with autism to be fully integrated into a regular school. “Abu Bakr is a very good child and deserves to have the same opportunities as the rest of the students,” said Amal, Abu Bakr’s older sister. Her brother had to go through unnecessary procedures such as repeating the same curriculum as he moved between many schools to prove he is capable of being a “normal student in a regular school”.
His teacher, Mustafa Mahmoud, at the Abu Dhabi Autism Centre praised the efforts of parents.