This year’s watch party was an opportune time to invite local teachers to discuss the state of special needs in the Abidjan Community. The event allowed for discussions about how we as educators can create more inclusive environments for our students. We found many commonalities in the challenges we face around raising awareness about neurodiversity and disabilities. In the next year we will begin teacher training and sharing of best practices to build teacher capacity!
I have been in the field of education for 8 years. My current experience working in a student-centered, inclusive learning environment in Quito, Ecuador, has given me the tools to design and deliver a project-based education for students of varied cultural backgrounds, where they are empowered to become protagonists of their learning. My formal study has provided me with an understanding of child development and family relationships. Those studies have emphasized the diversity of families and how children and families are influenced by the broader environment and change over time. I am passionate about early childhood and I am committed to making an impact in all of my students’ lives.
The SENIA West African Chapter Committee discussed the status of special education in the local community of Abidjan. The history of civil war in Cote d’Ivoire is in the backdrop of a society who is hopeful for the future. Sadly, as is the case in most African countries, children with special needs remain side lined from governmental support. Local policies and laws are vague and in some instances impractical, due to the limited resources available. The adoption of transitional organizational policies from the NGO community provides some hope for equity and inclusion, however, there are still a cultural and religious barrier influenced by limited awareness about disabilities.
As a committee we visited the Association Imagine le Monde. The visit was enriching and exposed the committee to the realities of special needs institutions in Cote d’Ivoire. AIM is one institution that brings hope to the community, doing amazing work in creating opportunities for students with more intensive needs. They give their students access to education, practical life skills and vocational skills. AIM is a safe place to grow and learn and the facilitators parental support, with seminars on how to raise students with special needs. We are grateful to be a partner school and the committee will be working to sustain these relations with them, through vocational projects to assist the adults with disabilities to receive sheltered employment.
SENIA Bulgaria’s Inaugural Networking Event
The SENIA Saudi Arabia chapter’s mission is to increase and promote awareness of individuals with neurodiverse needs. Our aim is to bring professionals from different communities across Saudi Arabia to collaborate, share experiences, support each other, families, and professionals to be well equipped to serve the needs of neurodiverse students.
You can learn more about us from our website and by following this Facebook page to keep up to date with the recent news and events.
For more information, please contact the Board Members: Inna Polianska (The KAUST School-Thuwal), Rayan Itani (AIS-Riyadh), Roslyn Dotterweich (AIS-Jeddah) at
Roslyn Dotterweich is the Secondary Learning Support Coordinator at the American International School of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
Roslyn is a mom of three boys with Autism, and is a passionate advocate for the inclusion of all types of learners in international schools. Over the past 10 years, she has helped build a comprehensive and inclusive secondary learning support program at AISJ, including a high school general (modified) diploma program, and is very interested in promoting vocational and educational opportunities for young adults with special needs.
She has 20 years of educational experience in locales such as Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Peru, and the UAE. She holds an MSEd in Special Education and is currently a Doctoral student at the University of Northern Colorado. Her research areas include secondary and postsecondary transition services, self-determination, and Universal Design for Learning.
Sp Ed in Special Education
- Ed in International Education
- Ed in ESOL
Inna is an inclusion specialist with over fifteen years of experience in international education. Throughout her career in international schools in Ukraine, Uganda, China and now Saudi Arabia, Inna has worked as a learning support teacher, individualized program teacher and a department lead. Currently, Inna works at the KAUST School as the Kindergarten Learning Support Team lead.
With a breadth of knowledge in child development, Inna is passionate about early intervention that hinges on collaboration between parents and the support team. In addition to her degrees, Inna is a certified Positive Discipline Parent and Early Childhood Educator, and is qualified to deliver PECS, Zones of Regulation and Orton Gillingham Reading interventions.
In working with the students with neurodiverse needs, Inna advocates for equal access to education for all students who will grow up to become capable, independent learners.
Rayan Itani is a Learning Support specialist at the American International School of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Rayan was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon and then moved to Saudi Arabia in 2013 to be with her husband and has been living here since then with her two kids. Throughout her career Rayan has been an advocate for students with learning difficulties and her aim is to ensure that every student receives the needed support to thrive and learn to the best of their abilities. Rayan is passionate about learning; her goal is to empower students with skills that help them unlock their potential regardless of their abilities.
Rayan holds a BA in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Special Education and a Masters in Educational Psychology from the American University in Beirut.
The Special Education Network Inclusion Association (SENIA) is an association of educators, professionals, and parents whose mission is to advocate for and provide resources/supports for differently-abled individuals.
To live in an inclusive world where every individual is supported, resources are accessible, potential is maximized, and action is inspired. SENIA Bulgaria also aims to help educational professionals establish effective ways to promote inclusion and diversity.