Modern Alternative Education (MAE) is the positive result that evolved from the frustration and struggles faced by a mother of a Dubai-based autistic child who had been rejected admission by 22 schools only in Dubai. When finally accepted in one, it only took a couple of years to realize that he didn’t belong there.
“It was the most expensive lunch box anyone can ever pay for. I paid the school tuition fee, a shadow teacher’s salary and a center to set my son’s Individual educational plan with a smile on my face just for my son to feel like his siblings walking out the door in the morning wearing his uniform and carrying his lunch box. After a couple of years and the older he got, even that cost was not enough to buy my son’s happiness. The school was wonderful, the staff was great to him, no bullying was involved, but after a certain age you can’t impose on a child how to be friends with or invite to a play day or birthday party, and my son wasn’t in any of those anymore and he felt it.”
Rana Akkad (the mother) decided to take drastic action to fill the gap between special needs and mainstream education in Dubai. In 2012, she took on the challenge herself and began the process of opening a top-notch school, whose mission would be to embrace children like her son Jad and offer them the opportunity and education they deserve. After going to the US and educating herself more about special needs education and outsourcing the right programs and staff, MAE (Modern Alternative Education), was launched in October 2016. A not for profit, education and vocational center that caters to a wide spectrum of mild special needs kids.
On August 3rd, 2018 and at the tender age of 11, Rana’s son Jad sadly passed away peacefully in his sleep. As devastating as it was for the family, Rana’s motivation to continue her journey amplified considerably as she now saw it as a calling and is making it her life’s mission to keep her son Jad’s legacy alive.