Abu Dhabi: An expatriate family in the capital has been struggling to find admission for their seven-year-old son diagnosed with autism.
Having allegedly approached more than 20 private schools, Vinutha Shetty, 39, a homemaker from India, told Gulf News that her son Avyu has been rejected or waitlisted by all of them.
“Many schools that interviewed him have already rejected him. In comparison, he completed KG2 at a mainstream Montessori school in the States, where we lived previously, and I would really like him to continue his learning,” Shetty said.
Shetty and her family moved to Abu Dhabi in October 2019, and her daughter easily found admission in Grade 5 at an American curriculum school. The family however had no success enrolling Avyu in Grade 1.
Avyu has been diagnosed with level 2 autism, a developmental disorder marked by a lack of verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
“My son was once non-verbal, but he is now able to follow two-step directions. He can also count to 100, knows the alphabet and can read and write. In fact, he also had receptive language skills, and we are only working on his expressive language,” Shetty said.
The mother added that she had obtained all Avyu’s paediatric reports, and that the recommendation was for him to be mainstreamed.
“A number of schools said they were lacking in resources for special educational needs, or could only accommodate a certain number of students with special needs in each class and were already full. I understand there is a challenge, so we are willing to provide a shadow teacher for Avyu. We just need him to gain admission first,” Shetty said.
In the meantime, the family ensures that Avyu has access to applied behavioural analysis therapy online.
“He is receiving therapy online now because of the coronavirus outbreak. The main benefit for Avyu with schooling will be the chance to develop his social and academic skills,” Shetty said.
The seven-year-old loves to draw and colour, and is generally very active, his mother said.
“At school in the States, he took a month or two but was able to make connections and form friendships, and I would like to see him have this chance at all-round development again,” Shetty explained.
The family is looking for enrolment at a British, American or International Baccalaureate curriculum.
“We want him to be enrolled at an international curriculum school because my husband’s job takes us to various countries. And we would really like Abyu to get into a school by September,” Shetty said.