Vocational Rehabilitation and employment

The vocational orientation phase is an extension of what the student gathered since childhood on various educational, behavioral, and social skills, independence and self-reliance skills, and developing their skills while considering their physical and cognitive abilities. This stage also takes into consideration the students’ professional tendencies, training in various professions, prepare them for the work environment, and include them with their peers.

The education at this  phase is not limited to what’s mentioned above but also includes; personal development, training them on the appropriate manners, behaviors, etiquette, assessing various situations, and enhancing the student’s ability to accomplish various tasks, which all contributes to enhancing student’s ability to adapt to the work environment in the future.

Each student is assessed and an individual plan is designed for each student that taking into consideration his abilities in general, professional abilities are evaluated and individual abilities and limitations are taken into consideration, based on which achievable objectives are set and progress is monitored against them​. It includes training on areas and skills that are useful for everyday life and the desired work domain.

The association is working steadily to train and rehabilitate people with Down syndrome, guiding them towards careers that align with their abilities, professional interests, and the market’s needs, so that they can be productive and active members who are able to work in their community and participate effectively in development. The focus of work for them is no longer based on the concept of equality and equal opportunities as the main goals, but rather on economic and productive concepts. Work also promotes the psychological and social aspects, the achievement of goals, the fulfillment of desires and needs. It also strengthens the sense of security and self-confidence, improves the quality of their lives, and leads to effective participation and equal opportunities in an inclusive society that ensures their well-being and a decent life for them and their families.


Vocational habilitation programs for people with Down syndrome have been carefully designed to meet their needs, provide them with a supportive environment, develop their personal and professional skills. This helps to increase their chances of employment and develop life skills such as communication, time management, organization, and the ability to adapt to working conditions and training. This approach not only enhances personal skills but also develops self-confidence, promotes self-esteem, and ultimately empowers individuals to achieve personal and professional independence.


Once individuals with Down syndrome reach adulthood beyond the age of 18, finding suitable employment opportunities becomes a significant challenge. This is because most habilitation centers do not extend their services to this age group. Recognizing this gap, our association is dedicated to providing suitable vocational habilitation opportunities to support people with Down syndrome in achieving their professional goals. We firmly believe in their potential and their ability to contribute meaningfully to the workforce.

People with Down syndrome are guided towards choosing work areas that align with their skills and interests, followed by practical training to apply these skills in a real environment.

The programs vary in content to suit their professional interests, which determine the type of projects that are planned and implemented.

The association works to establish strategic partnerships with entities in both the public and private sectors, aiming to create real job opportunities, employ people with Down syndrome, and integrate them into the labor market.

The focus of work for them is no longer based on the concept of equality and equal opportunities as the main goals, but rather on economic and productive concepts, aiming to alleviate the burden of disability on both families and the country.

From a psychological and social perspective, work represents an interaction between the individual and the material and social surroundings. The individual tries through their work to achieve personal goals, satisfy desires, and meet needs. Additionally, they seek to manifest their values and ideals, expressing themselves, their energies, motivations, and concerns in a manner that is both personally satisfying and acceptable within the society in which they work and live.

Psychological and social research has shown that unemployed individuals experience a decline in self-esteem, perceiving their lives as burdensome and feeling unable to achieve their goals and ambitions. Additionally, they suffer from a loss of security, self-confidence, a sense of inferiority, and anxiety, which is reflected in their behavior and feelings towards others. While work is a necessity for all members of society, it is even more crucial for People of Determination.


Employment Methodology

The association follows a clear methodology for employment, which includes the following:

  • Interviewing and assessing candidates with Down syndrome for training and employment, and determining their abilities and readiness.
  • Communicating with and contacting various appropriate entities.
  • Inspecting and studying the work environment to ensure that it is suitable for them and guarantees safety and occupational health.
  • Training coworkers to deal with people of determination with Down syndrome.
  • Evaluating the employee by the direct supervisor after the end of the training period.

Providing continuous technical support to the entity after employment and following up with the employee until their affairs are settled.

Internal Vocational Training

Sustainable Projects

A number of sustainable vocational projects have been developed at the association’s headquarters in accordance with the highest quality standards to suit the nature of these projects. These projects have been provided with the necessary expertise and knowledge of similar projects in the public and private sectors, in order to apply the best practices in the framework of operation and project development.

In addition, the association provides vocational training and rehabilitation at its headquarters in sustainable projects in multiple fields:

Professional training to empower and build the self-capacities of people with Down syndrome in the skills of cooking and hospitality at the Emirates Down Syndrome Academy for Hospitality at the association’s headquarters. This will polish their skills in a profession they love and empower them, achieving their full integration into society, opening up horizons for them to join the labor market, developing their social skills, and enabling them to live independently on an equal footing with their peers.

The Emirates Down Syndrome Academy for Hospitality was established at the association’s headquarters. It is a comprehensive creative kitchen with the highest international specifications and standards. It was opened in September 2022, and the students received several training sessions from the most skilled chefs. The students receive daily training on cooking and hospitality skills to empower them in the field of cooking and hospitality.

The operational plan for the Emirates Down Syndrome Academy for Hospitality includes opening production lines and a brand for the products and marketing them within a plan for sustainability and empowerment.

The academy will also be operated to offer specialized cooking courses to achieve sustainability in resources.

People with Down syndrome receive regular training in the art of photography according to the customized photography curriculum. The training is adapted to the students’ abilities, and each student is evaluated and the appropriate plan is put in place for their level. The training began in 2022.

Students are trained on the latest photography techniques by providing specialized cameras.

Students are provided with a customized curriculum that trains them on the parts of the computer, computer use skills, internet use, Microsoft programs and how to maintain the computer.

Launched in November 2023 with the support of the Dubai Women’s Association-Al- Khawaneej branch, the Sewing Atelier for girls is one of the most important specialized and sustainable vocational rehabilitation programs, aims to empower women in general and girls with Down syndrome in particular. It focuses on training and empowering them in the field of sewing, with the aim to include them into society and providing them with the opportunity to rely on themselves and live a decent living like their beers.

The Emirates Down Syndrome Association equipped the sewing workshop with the latest modern machines, utilizing all available resources to fulfill one of the key axes of the National Policy for People of Determination—specifically, vocational rehabilitation and employment. This effort is in conjunction with the association’s other sustainable projects and its commitment to expanding qualitative services for individuals with Down syndrome

This distinctive project for girls will be a nucleus for production in the future and also as a source of income and stability for them.

Arts in general, and painting in particular, are among the most cherished talents for individuals with Down syndrome. Since the association’s founding, Dr. Najat Maki, a dedicated volunteer visual artist, has been providing training in painting and visual arts. Through her commitment, she has assisted individuals with Down syndrome in developing their skills, showcasing their talents, and participating in numerous art exhibitions and bazaars.

Art is a means of expressing oneself, developing imagination, spreading positive energy, and fostering feelings of self-confidence and empowerment.

This is the first program for people with Down syndrome at the country level, where students receive regular training based on a curriculum dedicated to this purpose.


The idea began in 2017 when students of the robotics team, aged 18 and above, were integrated into the Applied Technology High School, where they received practical training on robotics. We observed great integration, enjoyment, and interaction during these training sessions. Based on this success, the decision was made to open the robotics club at the association’s headquarters in 2018. We started with a number of basic training modules and initiated training under the supervision of volunteers from the First International Group, specialists in robotics. The training enabled our children to participate in robotics and artificial intelligence competitions with mainstream schools, and they also took part in Gitex in 2018

Students continued training even during the COVID-19 pandemic, using Matatalab kits and participating in online competitions, where they won many medals.

We expanded our robotics training program, empowering teachers to lead the training instead of relying on volunteers. Now, teachers follow a schedule designed for this purpose and use the following curriculums for training, with each participant receiving a kit:

  • Matatalab Curriculum
    • Learning Station Curriculum
    • Musician Add-On
    • Artist Add-On

In addition, we introduced robotic training tailored to the age group of younger students, utilizing the Tale-Bot Pro Hands-On Coding Robot Set Education Edition

External Training

External training includes a methodology that enables individuals with Down syndrome to apply what they have learned in real-world work environments. The association collaborates with many partners to provide unique professional development programs, considering both the comprehensiveness of the program and the training period. The annual training period lasts for more than six months.

Professional specialized programs in food preparation, desserts, beverages, flower arrangement, housekeeping, and administrative work.

Professional specialized programs in food preparation, desserts, beverages, flower arrangement, and garden care.

The first program at the country level

The association has devoted special attention to both theoretical and practical aspects, aiming to elevate students’ performance to the highest levels. In collaboration with partners, students underwent specialized academic training programs at both theoretical and practical levels at the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management. They studied three courses adapted for people with Down syndrome, covering food preparation, food and beverage service, and housekeeping.