Identification Strategies in the Saudi Learning Disabilities Programme: Primary Teachers' Perspectives

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Fahad Alnaim


Saudi Arabia has been developing services for Students With Learning Disabilities (SWLD) for nearly two decades. The growing practice in this field is, however, lacking research. This study attempted to examine the Saudi Learning Disabilities Programme (SLDP) in terms of the identification of SWLD, by exploring the perspectives of Learning Disabilities (LD) teachers. It attempted to provide an in-depth understanding of this social phenomenon by exploring the dynamic interaction between the teachers' views, process and contexts. A qualitative paradigm was applied to explore teachers' perceptions of the meaning, substance, content, process and context of LD. The sample includes male and female LD teachers from rural and urban areas. There were three steps in the data collection process: 1- to determine key issues, seven semi-structured interviews with LD teachers, have been carried out; 2- six focus groups were conducted to get a deep understanding of the issues; 3- 45 LD teachers have participated in a survey which assisted in the interpretation and exploring how widely these views are held. Data analysis was directed qualitatively and based on a thematic approach. MAXQDA software has been used in the analysis to manage, generate and classify the codes in a quick, easy and accurate way.Findings show that different LD teachers have different identification strategies. There is an a gap between practice and policy which was caused by different reasons: such as lack of policy details about the mechanism of some processes; focusing on serving a specific number of SWLD rather than providing better quality of support for students; different influential (e.g. administration) and contextual (e.g. poor quality of education) factors; and, weaknesses in fidelity of implementation (e.g. lack of training). All these reasons have been considered in the underlying model of the study, highlighting various relations between them. This leads to a new theoretical model.This study provides a platform for Saudi policy makers to reconsider the needs and problems of SWLD. It also contributes to the international LD research through providing insights into the context of a developing country. The study suggests revising and developing both policy and practice, as well as tackling the problems and influences which cause the gap between them. Further research should study the application of an inclusive approach to supporting SWLD in the Saudi education context in order to respond to the identified problems in the SLDP.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date31 Dec 2016