Students, teacher of the Next Step Program on World Down Syndrome Day. (The Daily Star/AUB, HO)
A previous version of this article mistakenly said the event at AUB took place Thursday, when it had it fact taken place Wednesday, March 20. The Daily Star regrets this error.
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Salem is one of 12 students that are currently enrolled in the Next Step Program, a "university-based transition program for youth and adults with intellectual challenges," its website says.Her presentation was part of an event Thursday that marked World Down Syndrome Day, which brought together teachers, students, parents and volunteers.While there is no clear data on the total number of children with disabilities in Lebanon or on how many children with disabilities are in school, a 2018 Human Rights Watch report estimated that tens of thousands of Lebanese children with disabilities are not registered with the government and many of these may not have access to education.And the Next Step Program costs almost $4,000 a semester, making it inaccessible for lower-income parents, though some students are provided with scholarships.Linda Daghar is the mother of another student who was lucky enough to graduate from high school that had a special needs department. Her 21-year-old daughter is now enrolled in the first year of the Next Step Program.
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