Ajyal Special Needs Center: Saudi Aramco’s commitment to special education

Signing ceremony
Faisal A. Al Hajji and Raymond Damm ink an agreement between Saudi Aramco and the Arizona Centers for Comprehensive Education and Life Skills of Phoenix to provide high-level support services for children with development disabilities at the Ajyal Special Needs Center. “The ASNC is one humble example of how that sense of citizenship will continue to endear Saudi Aramco to everyone in the Kingdom,” said Muhammad M. Al Saggaf, who was joined by other Saudi Aramco officials at the signing ceremony. He is joined to his right by Abdulhakim A. Al-Gouhi, vice president of Industrial Services, and to his left by Ahmed M. Aburas.

Saudi Aramco has signed an agreement with the Arizona Centers for Comprehensive Education and Life Skills (ACCEL) of Phoenix to solidify and strengthen the provision of exemplary support services for children with developmental disabilities.

The Ajyal Special Needs Center (ASNC) is the result of this determined collaboration — a unique alliance named ACCEL International for Saudi Education — founded on expanding windows of opportunity through this international provider of quality special education.

‘A sense of citizenship’

“Saudi Aramco has a substantial sense of citizenship to its people — not just its employees, but the community at large,” said Muhammad M. Al Saggaf, Saudi Aramco senior vice president of Operations & Business Services. “The ASNC is one humble example of how that sense of citizenship will continue to endear Saudi Aramco to everyone in the Kingdom.”

ACCEL International for Saudi Education provides an integrated approach of multiple, evidence-based practices from the fields of education and behavioral science, as well as integrated clinical practices in the areas of speech and language therapy, physical therapy, and therapeutic enrichment. 

Making a difference

The March 28 signing ceremony included project proponents Al Saggaf, Faisal A. Al Hajji, Saudi Aramco general manager of Training and Development; Ahmed M. Aburas, Saudi Aramco director of the Academic Programs and Partnerships Department; and Raymond Damm, CEO of ACCEL.

“The ASNC was envisioned as a quality provider of special education and support services for children with developmental disabilities,” said Al Hajji. “We will strive in our next steps to become nationally and internationally recognized in our expertise.

Damm is confident in ACCEL’s ability to provide positive results and to work with Saudi Aramco and its stakeholders to build a world-class program replicated around the Kingdom. “It is our hope that this will be the first of many centers to help children reach their fullest potential.”

Aburas sees the development of ACCEL International for Saudi Education as a “model of dignity. “I am confident this will make a difference for thousands of children and their families,” he said.

Abdulaziz Al Hijji, a division head in the General Education Partnerships Department and project lead, agrees wholeheartedly with “the far-reaching prospects of ACCEL International for Saudi Education, which will be generated as this society transforming initiative awaits global recognition.”
The executive director of the National Commission for the Accreditation of Special Education Services (NCASES), Danielle Johnson, is thrilled with the prospect of accrediting the ASNC as the very first international location in the history of the commission — sentiments that were echoed by Damm.

A model of inclusion

NCASES accreditation ensures, among other factors, that providers supply comprehensive and holistic diagnostic, educational, therapeutic, and vocational service delivery models that support individual needs of children with developmental disabilities from three to 18 years of age. 
In addition, into adulthood, ACCEL will act as a service model to support successful student transitions in academic inclusion, supported jobs, and independent living skills.
With a mission to transform the lives of children with developmental disabilities and their families, the scope and breadth of this highly anticipated initiative will resonate throughout the Kingdom.

“The prime optimal goal for ACCEL International is to form an exemplary inclusion model that can be replicated across the nation,” said Al Hajji.

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