Al Nahda School, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

I have received several requests from readers to write a post about the Al Nahda School.  I had never heard of this school until it was brought to my attention from readers.  So the first thing I did was a google search to see if there were a web site.  Here’s where I found:


Now perhaps this may not be the same school that readers asked about for it is located in the Emirates and to my understanding, those who are familiar say it is a special needs school in Riyadh.  So I believe I need to do a little bit more searching here..


Further searches have led me to an organization identified as the Al Nahda Philanthropic society (In ) which maybe this will help me get closer to the goal.


The next search simply led me to this block:



Po Box 7
11411 Riyadh
Saudi Arabia






And then another search stated that Fatima Malik was the Director of Al Nahda School which specialized for children with down’s syndrome.  She had a linked in profile but when I clicked on her name, it came up file not found.  Thus far my search is beginning to look like this school is not as active as it may have been in the past.


The last link which I discovered although makes mention of the Al Nahda school and teaching children who have Down’s Syndrome to read, are in fact referred to Patricia Oelwein, in the USA.  See the link:


Based on what I have uncovered, I believe that the school is no longer in operation in Riyadh.  My suggestion for those seeking more information on this school or working with a child who has Down’s Syndrome, to perhaps try and contact Patricia Oelwein directly since her contact data was given in an earlier link:


Patricia Oelwein

13110 NE 25th Place

Bellevue, WA 98005 USA 


Phone: 425-883-8193; Fax: 425-869-7783

68 Responses

  1. Thanks for the effort, Carol.
    There is a center for learning disabilities which operates during afternoon (4-6 pm weekdays except Wednesday), and it is located in Al-Rawabi district in Riyadh. You may contact these people for details:

    سليمان بن عبد العزيز العبد اللطيف

    محمد بن عبد الله القحطاني

    عبد الرحمن بن سليمان الدوخي

    سلطان بن عبد الله المياح

    فهد ناصر السند

    And if you need more information, do let me know. I could ask my sister… she works for the Ministry of Education, Girls section, and she specializes in special education for those who require special needs. She’s enjoying her holiday currently but she should be back within the next two weeks.

  2. I can hardly believe that the school is no longer there! It was a wonderful, bright and modern school, with dedicated teachers and so many students that the waiting list was several years long.

    I wonder what has happened to the students, who are all grown by now. More importantly, how are the current youngsters with Down Syndrome treated and taught in the Kingdom? Loss of that school was a big loss, indeed.

  3. Nader,

    Thank you very much for the information. In addition to my own (few) posts about Saudi Arabia and handicap or disabled, there’s been little information available.


    I recall all of your comments speaking high praise for the school so it was indeed a disappointment to not find much information.

    It is almost like a shadow phenomenon here and seems like Down Syndrome is not talked about much.

  4. Did you try searching in Arabic? I found this link where they talk about the school, its goals and programs.

    You can contact them via this e-mail :

  5. Houstonian,

    Thank you! No; I did not. Thanks for providing the link and I’m sure many readers will be very appreciative.

    I try to respond to readers requests and I had received multiple requests to write about this school.

  6. Carol, I believe the school is still operating. A friend of mine works for Al-Nahda Society, I can ask her for more information if you are interested.

  7. Thank you, Ahmed. If she would be willing to pass some info that I could post to readers given that interest has been expressed that would be great.

  8. There is a school in Riyadh for children with Down Syndrome, I’m not familiar with it. There is one here in Al Khobar which unfortunately has gone down the tubes. There are also a school in Jeddah which I know has untrained personel working with the students. (An untrained inlaw works there and mentioned how these children are always angry, I would be too with untrained personel)

    Most children with Down syndrome are stay at home children. Considering the numbers you should actually see many more children and adults with Down syndrome out and about but you don’t. Government hospitals do have some early intervention, but most parents aren’t as active as they should be.

    Saudi also has a policy of mainstreaming children in education. Which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

    However I”m finding that many of the problems that are faced with children who have down syndrome in Saudi are not limited to Saudi. That many of the Gulf countries face simlilar issues. There are still many social taboos to address before any child or adult with a disability is fully embraced in this society.

    Personally I’m looking into home schooling if need be. A bit early for us to make that decision but I can’t see putting my child in most of the ‘special needs’ education centers in this country or Bahrain for that matter.

  9. Thanks for your comments, Nzingha.

    Yes; you raise a good point of how a number of Saudi families who do have a special needs child, Downs syndrome or other infliction, will in fact keep the child at home without any kind of special schooling.

  10. Nzingha has made some great points. It was my wife’s seeing, first hand how people with disabilities are treated in Saudi, that caused her to get into the Special Education field.

    All too often these people are left at home. Why? Because they are an “embarrassment” to the family. Why would that be? Because the Saudi culture, even the wider Arab/Muslim culture, teaches that these kids are either possessed, or evidence that the parents have done some really bad stuff in their lives and are being punished by God.

    So the majority of the time kids with Down Syndrome, Mental Retardation, Autism and a whole host of other issues, are literally left at home to rot and have no life. Many, if not most of these children and adults could become productive in their own way to society and led a decent life. Instead they are locked up in virtual prisons.

    I have been all over the Middle East, but it never came to me until I had a son with Autism, that I NEVER saw anyone in the Middle East with a disability. Never. Of course given what I have read recently, I think if the truth were known that the incidents of children with Special Needs is much higher in the Middle East, especially Saudi, because of inter-family marriage.

    A society, culture and government is RIGHTLY judged upon how they treat the most needy in their midst. That fact doesn’t bode well for any country in the “Muslim” world.

  11. If I am correct when I did the earlier post on Saudi and the handicapped our comments went in the same direction….but even so, sometimes it is good for a fresh reminder and renew the discussion.

  12. i loock for same school can help my kids who have
    3years and half,because his from categorie of down
    his morocain natinality

  13. Reda,

    I hope that one of our readers may be able to give you some suggestions. Are you in Saudi? In riyadh?


  14. hello all i realy happy that i found this artical i just got new baby with down syndrom he is 65 day old i hope any one see this gave recomandation i realy lost from reading and searshing
    i am in riyadh and walling to do what ever to make good futuer to my chiled
    i 46 and i have lovely family with 2 girl and 2 boy befor all of then healthy
    thnaks in advance

  15. my E-mail is

  16. Hi All,

    My name is joethi . I am a student studying to be a special needs educator in singapore . I am very keen in visting a Special school or a centre in Saudi Arabia .I was wondering if i can get some directions on how to get in touch with them for a short visit. As this would greatly encourage and enrich my knowledge in Special Education . Hope to hear from someone . Thanks for the assistance . Really appreciate it .

  17. Dear Reader…

    I am really touched by the lack of special education center….
    My wife who is going to join me soon has done a short time course in special needs education and i also have a friend who has quiet a good experience unfortunately she is not in saudi arabia.

    If any one of you are intersted to get in touch once my wife comes down expected in MAY… she could be able to guide you how to handle special needs kids and also she may provide tuitions to this kind of kid.

  18. Dear Carol,

    It came to my attention from a friend of min who lives in the States this link…Yes, we do have a specilaized schools for kids w/D.S. and pat Oelwien is our main Consultnat. We are located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Our website will be linched “hopefully” in the coming few months as we R doing some adjustments to become a “society for Down Syndrome”. Right now we R still under the Umbrella of Al-Nahda Philathropic Society for Women and by Jan 2010 we will be independent and start our own Society for People with Down and Syndrome and their families. if U have any questions or would lke our help I will send U the schools email address so ppl can email us with their questions/concerns and we will try to help as much as we can..
    Thank you
    Fatima Malak, Director of Alnahda Schools for Down Syndrome

  19. Dear Fatima,

    I am so pleased to receive this comment from you. If you would email me at I would welcome to obtain additional and more detailed information so it can be posted on my blog for those searching for assistance with Down Syndrome in the Kingdom.

    Best Regards,

  20. I am a Special Education Practitioner, offering service to all categories of children with Special Needs in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Only in English)
    Ph: 0509522826

  21. I can help the children with SpecialNeeds in Riyadh

    Jaya Chandran
    Ph: 0509522826

  22. Dear Readers
    This is Blog created by proffesionals in the field of Special Needs Education i thought it would be helpfull to you all looking for information and handling issues.
    they can also help you by sharing there experience. you can contact them and they would reply to your quieries especially Parents/Carer of Autism and Down Syndorome kids and also kids who needs special education

  23. Dear Readers

    Sorry i forget to put the link if u have difficulties u can write to me

  24. @Sajid – that is excellent to provide such information. Thank you.

  25. Carol,
    would it be possible to pass on the email id of the Al Nahda School?

  26. Hi Ben, here is information which I hope will help:

    You can contact them via this e-mail :

    or call at:

    966.1.465.0029 and fax 966.1.465.9132

  27. Salam,
    i need information that one of my sister have special education and she is doing job in school ( special education school for children). She is very dedicated and commited teacher for this job. Now she is thinking to apply for job in Middle east.
    If any one have some inforamtion about the available please let me know.

  28. WOW! Thank God I found this blog. I am a parent of a child with albinism and developmental delays. I am returning to Jeddah in July after completing my training in Canada. My 6 years old son goes to a regular district school grade 1 but has an Educational Assistant. My son has made huge progress learning from children in his class to a point that now he can hum rhymes!. Now I’m desperately seeking schools in Jeddah that would accommodate my son. I’m ready to pay whatever to get him an EA trained in working with special needs children. I only hope that my son gets into an educational system where he’ll be able to learn from children with normal IQ. I don’t think sending him to a special needs center will benefit him much, and I fear how he’ll be treated there. I really hope that people on this blog will have some valuable information to share.

    A concerned parent.

  29. I’m looking for a good school of down syndrom for my brother and sister in Arab counties ,, please help me to fined this school.

  30. I know of an occupational therapist in Riyadh.

    She’s an Indian – but does good work with children with special needs. Mail me : and I can provide you with her contact details.

  31. My son is 5 years old. He has understanding and Speech problem. I was looking for a special education school. Now I got your address. I want to know your field of specialization and the name of the school you work in or your private class.

  32. hey, i was the student of Al nahda international school riyadh but due to some problem the school was closed when i was in grade 5th in the year 1998 or 1999.thanks

  33. Salam,
    my name is sadaf khan from pakistan
    i need information that i have special education and am doing job in school from 6 years( special education school for children).i am very dedicated and commited teacher for this job. Now i am thinking to apply for job in Middle east.
    If any one have some inforamtion about the available please let me know.

  34. i seen that this blog has been inactive lately. I have a son with autism and is moving to riyadh saudi arabia soon. I was wondering if there is any kind of help for children with autism that speak English only. I was hoping to find an IBI therapist with training in verbal behaviour to work with my son few hours a day and a school that he can attend to learn social skills form typically developing children.


  35. hi

    i am a qualified homoeopathic doctor from INDIA ,right now leaving in RIYADH. i am looking for a job which can give me a completed satisfacation in human service like a special needs school or the diability centers i have no experience in that field but can assure complete dedication n care to needy children.

    kindly can anyone have any idea where to search for jobs or any contacts of such special carecenters please do pass on the info on the below mail id .thank you in advance

    my mail id

  36. my 14 years old son has speech delay which makes him behind,, and slow learner,we came back to Riyadh this year,,I am looking for a learning support school ,if u know any school please letme know,

  37. salam,
    my child is autistic i need to find a good school for autism in Riyadh and an occupational therapist do any one of you help me plz

  38. Asghar,
    Mail me on I know there was a good occupational therapist in Riyadh – Indian national..I don’t know if she is still around..k can send you her mail I’d.

  39. HI im a special education teacher in New York with an 8 yearsexperience . i have been teaching children with special needs .im rloking for a job in riyadh .im originally egyptian .i would be thankful if you can help me found a school or organizations in this feild .

  40. Hello,

    My friends daughter who is 11 years, has speech problem in public which makes her behind, and slow learner. We are looking for a learning support school in Riyadh.

    If you know any school or organisation please email me

    Thank you

  41. I am a special education educator living and working in Kuwait wit an extensive experience in working with children with disabilities from mild to severe and profound. I wish to work in Saudi
    Arabia. If there is anyone who knows of schools or rehabilitation centers there please drop me an email on ( ) with names and emails of those schools. Would be most grateful. thank you in advance.

  42. Is there anyone here with experience in IBI or ABA that can work with a 7 year old with PDD (autism spectrum) in Riyadh. The work would be done at home for about 6 hours a day. The child only speaks English. If you don’t already live in Riyadh, sponsorship can be arranged. Email if interested. Thank you.

  43. hi

    i am a special education teacher in pakistan . i have been teaching children with mentally retardation. i am looking for a job in saudi arab. i would be thankful if you can help me found a school or organizations in this feild .

  44. Im a qualified occupational therapist, experinced in working with children with disabilities. I have a good knowledge about sensory integration therapy and behavior modification techniques.

    Occupational therapy treatment can help children with attention deficit and hyperactivity, sensory processing disorders, autism, learning disability, downs syndrome, and a host of other mental and social disorders.

    Children with physical disabilities developmental delays and cerebral palsy also benefit greatly from regular occupational therapy sessions.

    I am based in Riyadh. Please contact me at

  45. hi im mother of 5yrs old mild autistic son…im new in riyadh..i want special needs center yah any teacher who can work with my son for aba and speech …plz help me his time is waisting…JAZAKALLAH KHAIR

  46. Dear humaira,
    Its a bit difficult to find a special need school here in Riyadh mostly facilitates suadi nationals only but search on google about Riyadh Multinatoinal school special need Although its expensive but if you can afford secondly my son is autistic too mild to moderate he is having therapy voice and occupational at home if u want his teachers number i can give u since i m leaving riyadh they do have a do let me know tc

  47. And dont worry i can feel the panic in your message i was on the same stage when i came here in Riyadh from Pak a year later, you will sort out things soon inshaAllah.

  48. Thank you Mrs Asghar, The Multinational School – Riyadh is an International School based in Al Falah (next to Al Nahda) next to the Imam Islamic University. It caters for children with Special Needs and learning difficulties and follows the Australian Curriculum. They have qualified and experienced staff.

  49. Salaam
    we looking for Autism schools in Jeddah or with special educational assistance teaching experiences


  50. There are not many English centers, but check out HOPE center (, JISH (026675311), and World Care (, @worldcaresa).

    Several centers in Arabic also accept autistic children including Al-Aoun (مركز العون)

  51. thank you all for these information… I am a mother of a 16 yrs old ADHD cerebral palsy (athetoid)boy. We let him joined a normal school eversince in riyadh, though he is lagging behind, bullied, laughed at because we could not find the right school for him. Up to now we are still hoping to find a school with teachers and staff that really could help him honed his strong points, etc. to have a good future. Please help!!!!

  52. Dear I have mention before there is a school in Riyadh called Riyadh multinational school just google it they got a special need section where tbey take kids like urs and mines.first of all they takes some session with kid to see in which category he lies level 1 for the mild one n three for severe cases.And then according to your child need they make invidual education program(IEP).since its a school for normal n special need kids tbey might transfer the kid to normal wing if he perform good.when i came to know its the time for us to leave riyadh so i donot have any personal experience but it looks promising you should check itout.

  53. hi i am mrs irfan from pakistan i have done my m.a in special education and i want work with u can u give me chance?

  54. Hi
    Special Care Learning Center (SCLC) school for special need children like ADHD, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Learning Disability, Down’s Syndrome etc is going to start on 3rd Nov in Riyadh. It is located Dariyah near Othaim for more information kindly contact management in charge Dr. Nishath contact no +966568080245. or you can en quire by sending mail on

  55. New Special Education Center (Private sector) in Riyadh, Near Exit 1

    For more details visit:

  56. Hi all members, I find this forum dicussion here quite informative. I live in Al-Khobar and looking for an experienced padiatric physiotherapist for my 4 month child having Downs Syndrom. If any body can share some contac infornmation, i will be grateful

  57. Hi All.. We have moved to Riyadh in few months back.. My son is 9 years old. And is severe to moderate.. I am looking for a special Children school… Please tell me how is Riyadh Multinational school.
    riyadh international school wont take him as they prefer indian nationality …depressed and dejected ..

  58. Special Care learning center is special school started in riyadh. you can visit on web site

  59. My 6yr old son has Asburgers (ASD) and attends multinational school. We find it to be a great school to cater for his needs. They offer Mainstream so mild cases and specialist tailored services based on the childs needs. Children with mild conditions can still attend mainstream class and have a one-on-one assistant sitting with them in class assisting them (at an extra cost – but at least it is available). We moved to Saudi 2 years ago and were living in Al-Khobar, our son was asked to leave all 3 available international schools available in Khobar for expats and we had run out of available options… We then found Multinational School in Riyadh and relocated for him to attend – best move we could have ever made…

  60. Dear Carol, I just wanted to thank you for this post and the information that is available. Initially when I came to Riyadh I needed an Occupational Therapist so bad for my 8 year old and I was loosing hope till I came across this blog. I also want to thank – 🙂 🙂 for all the help. We’re leaving KSA and just wanted to let you know that your blogs touch many lives without you even realizing it. Take care – Shaheen

  61. I have son who is mild retarded, I need to have some guidance and teacher for special care, as he goes to normal school but could not pick up well, please give me full address and details in this regard. my email : or mobile # 0531223385
    Thanks & Regards

  62. If you need any professional support in Speech Therapy/ Behavior Therapy pl contact me @ 0509522826. Regards Dr. Jay

  63. Hi i have 3 year old son diagnosed with autism.I am looking for an Aba therapist . Any one knows about any autism centre in riyadh or a special needs school. Plz give me full details in this regard.

  64. Assalamalaikum ,Mrs Asghar may i know your son teacher contact
    .number for my son .he is suffering from mild if u can send as soon as possible.thank you in ph number 0555335468

  65. My son has two therapists Ms.Parveen bhatti For the OT she used to come at home sadly she left Riyadh. and a speech therapist Doc Jay 0509522826.He work at International Indian school special care centre but i guess they take indian only at school so we took my son privately to him.Check multinational school Riyadh they can help you locate therapists.Also Doc Jay can help you locate more therapist.Hope this helps.
    The above comments tells that several other centres are open too check them too.Here in dubai my son got addmited in special need school through a centre contact so it always help.

  66. We have a son with Muscular Dystrophy, he can’t stand on his own legs and walk, he just passed the 10th class exam in India, is there any vocational training school or Centre is available in Jeddah.

  67. Dear Carol. Fist of all thanks for your kind efforts by which you’re helping other. i’m an Indian nation & I have a daughter of 4 year old & she is under the category of special need. Now the doctors are recommended for Play school for her. Please help me to find Plan school in Riyadh.

    Thanks a lot.

  68. Special Needs Education, Speech Therapy & ABA Therapy. You may contact 0509522826 Dr.Jay

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