Transformative Programmes at Al Noor Center – Enhancing Independence and Potential for People of Determination


Ms. Ranjini Ramnath, Director of Al Noor Rehabilitation and Welfare Association for People of Determination, spoke with Limitless Newsletter about how the 1981-founded facility, which had only eight students at its inception, is empowering people of determination and improving their learning experiences through specialized training in ICT, robotics, and coding, as well as its participation in the AccessAbilities Expo 2024.


1. Please tell us something about the Association and share insights into the programs, services, and activities offered at the Al Noor Rehabilitation & Welfare Association for People of Determination. How do these initiatives directly impact the lives of people with determination?


At the heart of Al Noor Centre lies a commitment to empowering individuals of determination through a comprehensive range of programs, services, and activities. Our unique approach, rooted in a holistic perspective, aims not only to enhance learning experiences but also to foster independence across all aspects of life.

Our curriculum stands as a testament to our dedication to providing tailored education. Developed in-house, it follows a life span approach, guiding students through a series of developmental milestones aimed at nurturing their potential. Constantly evolving to meet the demands of a dynamic world, our curriculum is aligned with the United Nations Convention on Rights for Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Moreover, we leverage technology to optimize learning opportunities, ensuring that each student reaches their full potential.

At Al Noor, assessment and intervention are conducted through a trans-disciplinary lens. Our expert team, comprising Special Educators, Speech and Language Therapists, Physical and Occupational Therapists, Psychologists, and parents, collaborate to formulate Individual Education Plans (IEPs). These plans are meticulously crafted to address each student’s unique needs, combining age-appropriate goals with parental expectations.

Our suite of services encompasses a wide spectrum of interventions, including special education, speech and language therapy, physical and occupational therapy, and behavior therapy. Furthermore, we offer specialized training in ICT, robotics, and coding, harnessing assistive technology to enhance environmental accessibility.  Extracurricular activities are also incorporated into our students’ program for the student’s all-round development.  Al Noor’s team of social workers acts as a bridge between the Centre and the home, ensuring that the parents are well supported during their child’s tenure at the Centre.     For older students, vocational skills training equips them with the tools necessary to enter the workforce confidently. We go beyond mere training; our dedicated Work Placement services ensure that our students transition seamlessly into employment opportunities.

At Al Noor, we recognize the pivotal role of families in the development journey. Through our Parent and Child Training Program (PACT), we equip parents with the tools and knowledge needed to support their children effectively. Our team of social workers serves as a vital link between the Centre and home, offering unwavering support to parents throughout their child’s tenure.

Beyond our immediate community, we are committed to sharing our expertise with the wider community. Our professional development initiatives keep our staff abreast of the latest advancements in the field, while our community courses open doors for individuals aspiring to pursue a career in disability services.

At Al Noor Centre, our holistic approach transcends mere education and therapy; it embodies a philosophy of empowerment. By nurturing individuals from the tender age of 4 to young adulthood at 35, we instill values of self-reliance and confidence. Through education, therapy, and training, we pave the way for our students to become confident, self-assured members of society, ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

In essence, Al Noor Centre stands as a beacon of hope and empowerment, championing the rights and potential of individuals of determination, and paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable society.


2. Could you highlight some success stories or significant accomplishments by your students?


  • Karl Denver (SB Skills Training) is a 19 year old individual Cerebral Palsy with Intellectual Disability (Intellectual Developmental Disorder). He has made remarkable strides in utilizing eye gaze technology to navigate communication software and websites. Mastering independent mouse control with eye gaze Windows control was an impressive achievement, followed by gaining deeper knowledge of accessible page sets. Advancing further, he now uses the online keyboard and can browse YouTube independently. This remarkable success prompted the donation of an accessible social media app (Do Join app), thereby highlighting his accomplishments. He is now being trained on Instagram usage and looks forward to connecting with the world and sharing his voice. Social media accessibility will be a focal point for further development, fostering continued growth and inclusivity.


  • Charlemagne Pablo is a cheerful, pleasant, and happy nine-year-old student in Primary Yellow class. She has made significant progress over this academic year in literacy, academic, communication, social emotional behavior, and self-care skills. She has been using the alphabet board and has transitioned to a Clevy keyboard for writing tasks and has become proficient in identifying the letters on the keyboard to write her name and a few words. She has begun pointing to words while reading sentences in story books and on Clicker 7 software, thus illustrating her ability to track words across the page, with her finger while developing listening skills and improving her focus and comprehension. Charlemagne has transitioned smoothly from using PECS to using TD Snap app as her augmentative and alternative communication and has shown competence in expressing her needs and ideas by selecting appropriate words to communicate effectively. She has shown good improvement in her self-care skills, eating her meal, drinking from a juice packet, using the toilet and requesting help when needed. She has demonstrated the ability to follow one step instructions consistently, thus showing good understanding and compliance in classroom activities.


  • Chirag is a 19-year-old multi- talented and skilled young adult. He is a talented singer and an amazing piano player. He has excellent ICT skills and loves Coding and Robotics. Chirag is very respectful with all his instructors and very friendly in nature. He follows his schedule diligently and work related instructions independently. Chirag works on tasks such as using different office equipment and making photocopies, laminating resources, spiral binding of booklets and document and making notes pads by cutting recycled paper as required by the staff. Chirag has been exposed to various “Work Experience” Programs within Al Noor as well externally in a wide range of industries like hospitality, retail and warehouses such as G’eant, Ritz Carlton, DHL, and Grand Plaza MovenPick.  At Al Noor, he receives job experience in the Assistive Technology department where he assists with different chores like arranging and organizing the required materials in AT lab and assisting the instructor. He is a quick learner. His responses related to newly acquired skills gets generalized within a short period of time. Chirag is now observed to be self- motivated and focused. The frequency of his anger outburst, self- talk has been reduced to a very large extent. As communicated by his parents, he has become more responsible at home and is now willingly participating in all house hold chores and takes effort to complete the work.

Chirag aspires to be a music teacher and wants to teach playing various musical instruments. He has received the following awards:

    • Overall winner performance in Trio group at Art and Craft award 2024 by CareTech Mena.
    • He was one of the contestants at Eduscan Talent Hunt, and has performed in various events inside and outside the Centre


3. In what ways has your Association benefited from previous participation in events like the AccessAbilities Expo, and what unique opportunities or collaborations have emerged as a result? 


Participation in AccessAbilities Expo has provided invaluable networking opportunities, enabling collaborations with key stakeholders, suppliers, vendors and organizations. These connections have led to innovative partnerships in areas of mobility, communication, vision rehab services, sensory needs, resource-sharing, and enhanced visibility for our Association’s mission and initiatives.


4. How many children does the Center accommodate? How do you evaluate the UAE’s support for People of Determination?


Currently we have 210 students attending the Centre.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting People of Determination, a term used in the UAE to refer to individuals with disabilities.

The UAE has established comprehensive legal frameworks and policies to protect the rights of People of Determination. The UAE ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2008, signaling its commitment to ensuring equality and inclusion.

Federal Law No. 29 of 2006 concerning the Rights of People of Determination in the UAE provides a legal foundation for protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities and ensuring their access to education, healthcare, employment, and other essential services.

The government has invested significantly in inclusive education initiatives to ensure that children with disabilities have access to quality education alongside their peers.

Specialized schools and centers, such as the Al Noor Centre, offer tailored educational programs and rehabilitation services to support the development and independence of People of Determination.

The UAE has implemented initiatives to promote the employment of People of Determination in the public and private sectors. Companies are encouraged to provide inclusive workplaces and reasonable accommodations to facilitate the integration of individuals with disabilities into the workforce.

Vocational training programs and job placement services are available to equip People of Determination with the skills and opportunities necessary for gainful employment.

The UAE has made significant strides in improving accessibility and infrastructure to ensure that public spaces, transportation, and buildings are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Building codes and regulations include provisions for accessibility features such as ramps, elevators, and designated parking spaces for people with disabilities.

The UAE government actively promotes social inclusion and awareness through campaigns, events, and initiatives aimed at changing societal attitudes towards disability.

Community engagement programs and initiatives foster a culture of inclusion and acceptance, encouraging meaningful participation and interaction among individuals of all abilities.

The UAE recognizes the importance of assistive technology in enhancing the lives of People of Determination. Government initiatives support the provision of assistive devices and technologies to individuals with disabilities, facilitating greater independence and participation in daily activities.

The UAE actively collaborates with international organizations, NGOs, and other stakeholders to exchange best practices, promote research, and advocate for the rights of People of Determination on the global stage.

Overall, the UAE’s support for People of Determination reflects a commitment to inclusivity, equality, and empowerment, with ongoing efforts to enhance services, opportunities, and societal attitudes towards individuals with disabilities.


5. Parents face unique challenges regarding their children reaching adulthood at 18. Do you have any suggestions or recommendations to address these specific challenges?


The transition from childhood to adulthood can indeed pose significant challenges for both individuals with disabilities and their families. Here are some of the key challenges faced during this transition period:

Many centers and support services for people of determination are geared towards children and adolescents, leaving limited options for adults with disabilities.

Interruptions in training and support services during this transition period can lead to regression in skills and independence, exacerbating the challenges of adulthood.

Limited opportunities for social interaction and community engagement can contribute to social isolation among adults with disabilities.  The lack of inclusive social activities and accessible spaces may further exacerbate feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Adults with disabilities have a higher risk of mental health issues among individuals with disabilities.  Access to mental health services and support may be limited, further exacerbating these challenges.

Aging parents face increasing challenges in physically managing the care and support needs of their adult children with disabilities.

As parents age, they may experience limitations in their ability to provide physical care, leading to concerns about the long-term well-being and independence of their children.

Parents of adults with disabilities often worry about the future and the well-being of their children after their own lifetime.

Planning for long-term care, guardianship, and financial stability becomes a pressing concern for aging parents.

Many of these challenges can be overcome by concerted early intervention strategies combined with consistent follow-up at home can significantly contribute to the long-term success and empowerment of individuals with disabilities.

By providing specialized therapies, educational support, and family-centered interventions, early intervention programs aim to enhance the overall development and functioning of children with disabilities.

Creating supportive home environments that accommodate the unique needs of individuals with disabilities fosters a sense of belonging, security, and empowerment.

In essence, early intervention coupled with ongoing support and family involvement lays a solid foundation for the empowerment and success of individuals with disabilities. By nurturing their potential from an early age and fostering supportive environments both at home and in the community, we can help individuals with disabilities lead fulfilling and meaningful lives.

Despite these challenges, it’s important to highlight the stories of individuals with disabilities who find employment and build bright futures. These success stories underscore the importance of inclusive employment opportunities, vocational training, and supportive environments in empowering individuals with disabilities to achieve their full potential.

Addressing the challenges faced by adults with disabilities requires a holistic approach that encompasses accessible support services, inclusive education and employment opportunities, community engagement, and mental health support. By fostering a culture of inclusivity, understanding, and support, we can create a more equitable and empowering society for individuals of all abilities.


6. At times, the community, and families of individuals with disabilities are not sufficiently engaged and do not participate in activities that could be beneficial for their loved ones, what factors do you think contribute to this situation? Additionally, do you have any suggestions or insights on addressing this issue?


Indeed, families of children with disabilities often face challenges related to social isolation and exclusion from mainstream community activities. However, many families have found innovative solutions by coming together to advocate for social and cultural inclusion for their children. Here’s how:

Families of children with disabilities often form support networks where they can connect with others facing similar challenges. These networks provide a sense of belonging, understanding, and mutual support, reducing feelings of isolation.

Families advocate for greater awareness and acceptance of individuals with disabilities within their communities. They organize awareness campaigns, workshops, and events to promote understanding and inclusion.

Families collaborate to organize inclusive activities and events where children with disabilities can participate alongside their peers. These activities may include sports events, cultural festivals, art exhibitions, and educational workshops.

Families work with community organizations, schools, and local authorities to create inclusive spaces and facilities that cater to the needs of individuals with disabilities. This may involve advocating for accessible playgrounds, recreational facilities, and community centers.

Families encourage peer support and friendships among children with and without disabilities. They facilitate opportunities for interaction and collaboration, fostering inclusive attitudes and relationships.

Families participate in cultural activities and events that celebrate diversity and inclusion. By showcasing the talents and contributions of individuals with disabilities, they challenge stereotypes and promote acceptance.

Families advocate for policy changes at the local and national levels to promote the rights and inclusion of individuals with disabilities. This may include advocating for inclusive education policies, accessibility standards, and anti-discrimination laws.

Through these collective efforts, families of children with disabilities are able to create supportive and inclusive communities where all members feel valued, respected, and included. By working together towards social and cultural inclusion, these families not only improve the quality of life for their children but also contribute to building more inclusive societies for everyone.


7. Considering the broader goals of the Al Noor Association, how will you use its involvement in AccessAbilities 2024 to raise awareness about different types of disabilities and push for more inclusivity and accessibility in the community?


Al Noor’s active participation in AccessAbilities showcases its commitment to providing innovative solutions that enhance access and inclusion for people of determination. Through its exhibits, Al Noor highlights the importance of simple yet effective solutions in improving the lives of individuals with disabilities. Here’s how Al Noor’s involvement in AccessAbilities demonstrates its dedication to creating bespoke solutions:

Al Noor showcases its efforts in providing access to communication for individuals with disabilities through the use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices.

These devices enable individuals with communication difficulties to express themselves, engage with others, and participate more fully in social interactions.

Al Noor presents simple yet ingenious solutions for self-care activities, empowering individuals with disabilities to perform daily tasks independently.  These solutions may include adaptive equipment, assistive devices, or modified techniques that cater to the specific needs and abilities of each individual.

Al Noor demonstrates the use of assistive technology (AT) to facilitate engagement in leisure activities for people of determination.

Whether it’s adapted gaming consoles, accessible sports equipment, or specialized recreational devices, Al Noor showcases how AT can enhance participation and enjoyment in leisure pursuits.

Al Noor’s exhibits at AccessAbilities highlight bespoke solutions developed within the center to address the unique challenges faced by individuals with disabilities.

These solutions reflect Al Noor’s commitment to innovation, creativity, and person-centered care, ensuring that each individual’s needs are met in a tailored and effective manner.

Al Noor’s exhibits attract visitors to AccessAbilities due to the ingenious nature of its solutions and the tangible impact they have on the lives of people of determination.

By showcasing practical examples of how simple solutions can make a big difference, Al Noor inspires others to adopt similar approaches in their efforts to promote inclusion and accessibility.

Through its participation in AccessAbilities, Al Noor sends a powerful message that simple solutions can indeed have a profound impact on the lives of people of determination. By prioritizing creativity, innovation, and person-centered care, Al Noor continues to make a mark in creating a more inclusive and accessible world for all.


Visit:  Al Noor Rehabilitation & Welfare Association for People of Determination 

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