Author First name, Last name, Institution

Muna Mohamed Alhammadi, Zayed University

Document Type


Source of Publication

Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology

Publication Date



Purpose: This study aims to identify the disability specialists currently needed for students with vision or hearing impairment in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It also aims to identify the university-level training courses available for these specialists. Materials and methods: This study adopted a mixed-methods design. The qualitative strand involved a thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews conducted with 20 employees of 10 UAE organizations providing support services to students with vision or hearing impairment. The quantitative strand determined the number of disability-related degree courses offered at UAE universities from 2018 to 2020. Results: The interviewees revealed that students with visual impairment most need teachers for the visually impaired, braille trainers, orientation and mobility trainers, and assistive technology specialists, whereas students with hearing impairment most need teachers of the deaf or hard of hearing, speech therapists, and sign language specialists. Regarding disability-related training, 10 UAE universities each offered one disability-related programme between 2018 and 2020. These included nine general programmes for special or inclusive education and one programme for speech pathology. Conclusion: UAE universities are currently unable to train the disability specialists required for students with vision or hearing impairment. An interim option is to offer scholarships to enable Emirati students planning to become disability specialists to gain these specialized qualifications overseas. Current efforts in the UAE to address the needs of people with disabilities should include a development and implementation plan for UAE university programmes to offer specialized courses for people with vision or hearing impairment.




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Disability specialists, ent, specialized organizations, students with hearing impairment, students with vision impairm, UAE, universities

Scopus ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Indexed in Scopus


Open Access


Open Access Type

Hybrid: This publication is openly available in a subscription-based journal/series

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Education Commons