KHDA Inspection Report: "Governors and Senior Leaders demonstrate a strong commitment to inclusion. The Head of Inclusion is pivotal in ensuring that effective provision is in place, especially in the Secondary phase. Students' learning skills are are adequately challenged. The School uses a rigorous system of identification to support personalised intervention. The school keeps parents well-informed. Close monitoring provides secure evidence of challenge and progress."
Hi! My name is Louise Dawson.
I started my journey into Special Needs and Inclusion in 1998, with the birth of my first child.
He is 23 now, but he started life with a variety of struggles and is currently identified with multiple needs. Although our journey through school was incredibly tough he has been extremely successful since and is currently working full time in Dubai after gaining a Degree in the UK.
My middle son was a different story and srtruggled through school with behaviour issues that we could never really get to grips with. I was a busy working mum, going through divorce, maybe he was just 'acting up'. An identification of ADHD and Dyslexia at 20 put paid to 'that' myth.
My youngest, who is now off to University, has a couple of identified needs including a visual impairment - but we don't let that hold us back either.
I had hated Secondary School and didn't really leave with qualifications. I had started work at 15 in offices but went on to be very successful in business and I ran my own company in Hong Kong in the late 90's. We spent 8 years in Hong Kong before returning to the UK with a 5 year old, 3 year old and a newborn baby. We wholeheartedly believed this was right for our child with additional needs.
When my boy was beginning to prepare for Secondary Education I knew I had to get clued up. . At the ripe old age of 35, I had no idea how to help my children. I was, by then, very frustrated with the education system in the UK. I knew I had to learn how to support him the best I could - so I embarked on a one year plan to be a teaching assistant/learnign support assistant - filled with dread.
What came next surprises me far more than it should! I loved it. There was something very real about connecting with a young person who was struggling. I loved the 'naughty' ones, I adored the 'challenge'. These kids reminded me so much of me it was almost laughable. But the more I learned, the more I wanted to 'change the world' for them.
After a few years in a mainstream secondary school, working through a Higher Level Teaching Assistant certification, and a Degree I moved to a Pupil Referral Unit. After two years here, my son was about to enter GCSEs. His English teacher told me, at Year 8, "I'm not sure why you even bring him to school - he will never get his GCSEs'. We couldn't get him out of there quick enough. He had some INCREDIBLE friends, but was also bullied, set up, picked on, criticised and went through some tough times. We decided to move our family to Dubai.
We have been here 9 years now. The kids either have degrees or are working towards them and I have worked my way to being a Head of Inclusion. I have managed small and large teams. Set up provisions for children with high needs. I have trained numerous SENCos and Heads of Inclusion, LSAs, Leadership Teams and Parents. It is an absolute joy.
I get to work alongside some of the most incredible people in Inclusion. Heads of Inclusion and SENCos are INSPIRING. Relentlessly searching for the best for their students. Spending their own money on training and resources. Wrtiing books and giving their time to others.
The Dubai SENCo Network invited me to join them around 2015 and the group went on to deliver live coffee sharing sessions monthly. We expanded this to the Dubai Inclusion Network to ensure that we bought together therapists and psychologists with the school staff. During the Pandemic of 2020, Catherine O'Farrell, Suzie Hachez and myself took this online and continue with fortnightly online webinars to support the community. Members share resources, ideas, thoughts, opinions and support without fail. The Network that we have developed in the Middle East is incredible.
I am honouored to be included in the Inclusion Network ME.
I am proud to train frequently with Infinite Learning across the Middle East.
I am ecstatic to be the BSME Network Lead for Inclusion across the Middle East.
I am lucky to work with Daniel Sobel at Inclusion Expert and to be able to call him a friend.
I am humbled to be able to help families, children and schools with their journey through inclusion.
If you think I can help you as a parent or as an educator, please get in touch.
Jan 2021 - Educare - Online Course Creater - "What is Inclusion "
Sep 2020 - British Schools Middle East - Network Leader fo Inclusion
Oct 2020 - Real Training - Webinar - "Cultural Understanding in Parent Communication"
For Real Training members only please log into the Campus and access the Video Library to watch my submissionon on cultural Understanding Parent Communication.
Feb 2017 - KHDA - Guest Speaker - "What Works Tolerance"