bahrain What is the status of inclusion of young children with disabilities? The Kingdom of Bahrain is committed to equal educational opportunities for and inclusion of all school children into regular classes in public schools, which is in line with the decree issued by the Ministry of Education in October 2001 (UNESCO, May 21-June 1, 2012). The country ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as launched an inclusive education campaign and established a Higher Committee for Disabled Aﬀairs in 2012 (Trade Arabia News Service, 2014, May 13). The Inclusion Program started in 2005. Responsibility for special needs education in Bahrain is shared between the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Education, Special Education Administration (Weber, 2012). Many private foreign schools have special education/learning support departments. What does music therapy inclusion programming for young children with disabilities look like? I am the only accredited music therapist in Bahrain. I provide individual music therapy services to children and adolescents with special needs, and conduct individual and group sessions in some special education schools/ centers. In 2009-2010, I led early childhood music classes in one of the preschools, where I had a few children with mild special needs in the classrooms. I also led a group session for families with children with disabilities and their peers. There is a plan now to implement music therapy sessions in one of the early childhood centers which caters to children of various levels of abilities. However, to my knowledge, there is no therapy or social skills trainings provided to children on an inclusive basis in schools.
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How should music therapy contribute to the movement to include children with disabilities over the next decade? This is a diﬃcult matter, as music therapy is a new, practically unknown form of therapy in the country. There is still much to be done to raise awareness about our profession among the parents and specialists alike. In my workshops I always talk about the benefits of music for children and their families, and consult with educators about the use of music in their work. In my private practice, I began encouraging parents to think about bringing siblings from time to time. Right now, however, I only include parents into my sessions, to provide the “three-persons” social experience to children with special needs. References Trade Arabia News Service. (2014, May 13). Unicef calls for more inclusive world for disabled. Retrieved from http://www.tradearabia.com/news/ MISC_258060.html UNESCO. (2012, May 21-June 1). Universal Periodic Review. Bahrain. 13th session. Retrieved from http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/ session13/BH/ UNESCO_UPR_BHR_S13_2012_UNESCO_E.pdf Weber, A.S. (2012). Inclusive education in the Gulf Cooperation Council. Journal of Education and Instructional Studies in the World, 2(2), 85-97. Retrieved from http://www.wjeis.org/FileUpload/ ds217232/File/11.weber.pdf About the Author Aksana Kavaliova-Moussi, MMT, MTA, Neurologic Music Therapist, has a private practice in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and is the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Liaison for the World Federation of Music Therapy. She serves as a Co-Chair of the Online Conference for Music Therapy. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org