THE CHALLENGES AND OBSTACLES OF USING ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY IN SPECIAL NEEDS CENTERS IN UAE (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)

G. Al Bustami, D. Elsori, M. Fteiha

Abu Dhabi University (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
Assistive Technology (AT) has been defined as "any device or system that allows an individual to perform a task that they would otherwise be unable to do, or increases the ease and safety with which the task can be performed".

Despite the positive impact and advancement of AT over years, prior research on the use of AT in UAE is few and limited. There are many challenges to the field of assistive technologies, both from a research perspective and from an implementation perspective.

Many children with disabilities depend on a wide variety of AT for help and support when undertaking activities of daily living. Such AT can range from simple aids such as specialist cutlery for children with weak grip or a limited range of motion, to more complex and expensive devices like electronic wheelchairs and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems.

This study will outline some of the key challenges that have been identified from existing literature in the field and aim to investigate the obstacles of the AT tools that the therapist and teachers faced and the study will suggest a practical solutions to assist in eliminating the challenges.

A descriptive research methodology will be used for this study. The researchers will develop questionnaire about the challenges and obstacles of Assistive Technology in Special Needs Centers in UAE and structured interview with 100 Special Education teachers and therapist and 50 directors and supervisors in the Special Education centers – governmental and private - in UAE. SPSS program and qualitative analyses will be used to analyze and discuss the collected data and results.