The transition from adolescence to adulthood is difficult for all children, especially for children with disabilities. Al Shams Centre offers a pre- and vocational training programme for students from 14 to 21years aimed at developing life skills so that the students can be integrated in the community through employment and become productive members of the community.
At first the student will be assessed to determine his/her eligibility for the programme, as well as to establish the baseline to develop an Individual Transition Plan (ITP) and the group placement. The students will be instructed in groups of 8-10 by a special education teacher and teacher’s assistant. The students will receive Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and Behaviour Modification according to their needs and to ensure that the goals of the ITP can be achieved. Classroom and therapy staff use well-established strategies, such as community-based instruction, behaviour modification plans, task analysis and incidental learning, in addition to individual and small-group direct instruction.
Progress will be documented and discussed with the student’s parents and the ITP will be reviewed annually.
The programme includes seven broad areas:
- job readiness skills,
- arts and crafts,
- clerical work,
- food service
- grocery and
- daily living skills.
There are to be further activities within these categories that will be determined based on the response and interest expressed by the students. The classrooms will contain workstations with the tools and materials to perform the tasks according to the student’s ITP. The student will have access e.g. to the school appliances, e.g. copy machine to complete clerical tasks or the use of the kitchen for household tasks, taking all safety precautions into account. Where applicable, after the students are familiar, e.g. with money management, transfer and implementation of the skills will be practiced on planned trips, e.g. to the supermarket to purchase objects or food items required to complete a kitchen task.
- Job readiness:
The Job Readiness Module presents the first step in a multi-layered process for introducing and educating young adults in the area of vocation. Module 1 will expose students to and teach them a range of vocation-related vocabulary, such as “time card,” “professional,” “co-worker,” “supervisor,” “uniform,” and “job application.” Based on the recommended frequency of two, lessons per week, the Job Readiness Module is designed to take 5-10 weeks to complete. Students participate in the following prevocational lessons:
- Ready to work
- All about me –How to introduce myself, etc.
- What is a uniform?
- Communicating with co-Workers at work
- Applying for a job
- Creating a portfolio
- How to act in a work environment
- Using a timecard
- Job quality
- Arts and Crafts:
- Creating products using different art techniques: cards, gift wrapping, paper bags, material painting, glass and ceramics painting, stencilling, etc.
- Needle work, crocheting, knitting, etc.
- Plaster objects, sculpting with paper maché, plastiline, clay, etc.
- Oil, aquarelle painting, drawings, colouring, etc.
- Bead work, etc. according to the students’ interest and abilities.
- Clerical work:
The Clerical Module is the first of four modules that contain hands-on, activity based plans. It exposes students to and teaches them a range of concepts, vocabulary, and jobs, related to clerical tasks in the workplace. Students participate in the following clerical activities:
- Folding paper in thirds
- Stuffing and sealing envelopes
- Labelling envelopes
- Filing by numbers
- Organizing envelopes
- Stapling papers
- Folding papers in half
- Sealing papers for mailing
- Filing by words or letters
The Retail Module exposes students to and teachers them a range of concepts, vocabulary, and jobs related to retail tasks in the workplace. Students participate in the following retail activities:
- Buttoning Shirts
- Pairing and Boxing Shoes
- Folding Towels
- Hanging Shirts
- Sorting Shirts by Size
- Matching and Folding Socks
- Folding Shirts
- Sorting and Sizing Shoes
- Sizing Shirts
- Food Service:
The Food Service Module exposes students to and teaches them a range of concepts, vocabulary, and jobs related to the food service tasks in the workplace. Students participate in the following food service activities:
- Folding and Bagging Rectangle Napkins
- Sorting and Bagging Utensils
- Sorting Place-Setting Materials
- Setting a Table
- Sorting Coins
- Counting and Bagging Coins
- Folding and Bagging Diamond Napkins
The Grocery Module exposes students to and teaches them a range of concepts, vocabulary, and jobs related to the grocery tasks in the workplace. Students participate in the following grocery activities:
- Sorting hard and soft items
- Sorting cold and warm grocery items
- Sorting food and cleaning grocery items
- Stocking grocery store items
- Bagging grocery items
- Daily living skills:
- self-care training,
- basic home repair (e.g. light bulb defect)
- basic safety andhealth training,
- home economics,
- independent living training, and
- money management.