Archive for the ‘Persons with special needs’ Category

Better study opportunities in store for OKU kids

Saturday, October 12th, 2019

PETALING JAYA: Having more facilities for the disabled (OKU) will encourage more parents to send their children to schools, says educationist Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam.He said some parents had avoided sending their disabled children to school due to the lack of OKU-friendly facilities.

“Now with more facilities, these children will have more opportunities to get a proper education, ” he said on the RM23mil allocated for OKU facilities in national schools in Budget 2020.

Subramaniam also described the allocation as a “plus point” as these children should not be denied their right to education just because a school lacked such infrastructure.

He welcomed the much-needed increase in the allocation for maintaining and upgrading schools,

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/10/12/better-study-opportunities-in-store–for-oku-kids#uCEqk6EJFyXkCED1.99

TYT celebrates birthday with special needs children, orphans

Friday, October 11th, 2019

Juhar (front, fourth left) and Norlidah (front, fifth left) cutting a cake during the high tea event with special needs children and orphans yesterday.

KOTA KINABALU: A high tea event with special needs children and orphans in conjunction with the official 66th birthday celebration of Sabah Head of State was held at Nexus Spa and Resort Karambunai yesterday.

The event was graced by Head of State Tun (Dr) Juhar Mahiruddin and his consort, Toh Puan (Dr) Norlidah RM Jasni.

Deputy Chief Minister cum Local Government and Housing Minister, Datuk Jaujan Sambakong, Sabah Federal Secretary, Datuk Samsuni Mohd Nor, Assistant Health and People’s Wellbeing Minister, Norazlinah Arif, Local Government and People’s Wellbeing ministry permanent secretary, Datuk Masnah Mat Salleh, Health and People’s Wellbeing ministry permanent secretary, Datuk Janet Chee, and Sabah General Welfare Services Department director, Myrna Jimenez, who is also the event’s organizing chairperson, were among the dignitaries present at the event.

Some 205 children and their 49 escorts from special institutions and schools attended the event.

Ensuring better access to education for the disabled

Saturday, September 7th, 2019
Only a handful of universities are actively involved in implementing disabled-friendly policies. –File pic

The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals has emphasised about inclusive, quality and lifelong education.

This is difficult enough to realise for most the world over, especially in the developing Global South, given the various divides — economics, technological and socio-emotional.

So what can be said of the disabled, or the differently abled, generally known as OKU (Orang Kurang Upaya)?

Going by the World Health Organisation and the World Bank estimates, there are some one billion people who experience some form of disability. Of the one billion, up to 150 million are children, including those of school-going age.

Some of these children are 10 times less likely to go to school than other children. When they do attend school, it is likely to be in a segregated setting.

Historically, those with disabilities have been excluded from the general education system and placed in “special schools”.

In some cases, they are separated from their families and placed in long-term residential institutions where they are educated in isolation from the community, if they are educated at all.

Based on the Global Partnership for Education, it was estimated that 90 per cent of children with disabilities in low and lower-middle income countries do not go to school.

In Malaysia, some 488,948 OKUs were registered with the Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat as at October last year. But the number of them gaining an education is relatively small.

For example, the International Islamic University Malaysia, which launched its own Disability Inclusion Policy in November last year which is in tandem with the university’s raison d’etre, has some 150 and 10 OKU students and staff‎ respectively.

This is due to a number of barriers such as attitude, financial, physical, communication and organisational. The latest being migrational in nature.

Indeed, in 2016 the UN estimated that less than half of the world’s six million refugee children were in school.‎ Lesser still in university.

Similarly, Human Rights Watch too identified that refugee children with disabilities faced barriers to enrol in schools.

Hence the initiative taken by the Ministry of Education to launch ‎Garis Panduan Pelaksanaan Dasar Inklusif OKU in institutions of higher education last week was timely.

In 2008, the Persons with Disabilities Act (PWDA) was passed by Parliament to ensure access for the disabled to public facilities, transport and recreation, leisure and sports services.

As part of the Act, building by-laws were amended making it compulsory for buildings to provide access and facilities for disabled people. Existing buildings were allowed three years to make the necessary modifications to comply with these new requirements.

In this context the guidelines were overdue to create a disabled-friendly infrastructure, to prepare a conducive learning and living environment, and building a trusting community among others.

This is with the goal of raising the number of students with disabilities enrolling for formal education. And, at the same time, to ensure that the number of dropouts is kept low relative to the initial enrolment.

Moreover, those with disabilities face a higher risk from violence and bullying, as well as hindering their right to education, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

These facts and figures reflect the significant impact of the barriers to education faced by people with disabilities, pointing to the importance of some policy guidelines. As for now it is not surprising that only a handful of universities are actively involved in implementing disabled-friendly policies.

It is hoped that the introduction of the new guidelines will overcome the lack of accessibility, ranging from physically inaccessible buildings to unsuitable learning materials.

Others include discrimination and prejudice which prevents people with disabilities from accessing education on equal terms with others, exclusion or segregation from mainstream educational settings, and inferior quality of education, including in mainstream settings, where those with disabilities have been “integrated” into the existing non-inclusive system.

At the same time, human rights laws seek to directly tackle these issues by compelling states to respect, protect and fulfil the right to education of people with disabilities through the implementation of “inclusive education”.

It is worthy to note that people generally are more accepting and understanding of those with physical disabilities, conditions which are tangible to them such as loss of vision, inability to walk, total loss of hearing or loss of limbs.

Whereas, those with behavioural, mental and intellectual disabilities faced far greater challenges. Some studies showed that only 20 per cent of Malaysians perceived behavioural and mental conditions as disabilities.

To most, those with learning disabilities, hyperactivity or aggression are simply perceived as “badly behaved”. They are often stigmatised as “crazy”, “stupid” or “tiga-suku” among the locals, and made fun of.

This means education is essential to put things in its proper perspective before the Garis Panduan Pelaksanaan Dasar Inklusif OKU can have its full and lasting impact.

By Dzulkifli Abdul Razak

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/09/519369/%E2%80%8Eensuring-better-access-education-disabled

Dr Maszlee: All IPTAs must be completely disabled-friendly within 10 years.

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik received the OKU Inclusion Policy in IPTA guidelines during the launching ceremony at IIUM Cultural Centre. Azman Ghani / The Star

GOMBAK: All public higher education institutions (IPTAs) must become completely disabled-friendly within the next decade, says Dr Maszlee Malik.

The Education Minister said this was part of the guidelines for the OKU (Disabled) Inclusion in Higher Education Institutions Policy that was implemented in January.

“We do not want anymore cases where students who fulfil course requirements are not accepted by higher education institutions because they are disabled, as there are no facilities to cater to them,” he said during the launch of the guidelines Thursday (Sept 5) at the International Islamic University (IIUM).

“The reason for this inclusive education policy is to eliminate the separation of OKU students from other students,” he added.

Maszlee said the policy must be implemented by IPTAs over the next 10 years through short, medium and long-term plans that are comprehensive, practical and realistic.

He added that Malaysia is capable of forming an inclusive culture in education that does not sideline the OKU community.

Access for the OKU to education will be done radically across the country, he said, adding that he hoped to tie the policy with the 12th Malaysia Plan.

Maszlee said it was everyone’s responsibility, not just the ministry’s, to ensure the OKU community’s rights are always protected.

This year, Maszlee said, a special entrance stream into IPTAs was created for OKU, B40, athletes and Orang Asli.

The ministry, he added, has already implemented a Zero-Reject Policy in national schools so that no child is denied their right to education.

“The OKU Inclusion in Higher Education Institutions Policy will be carried out and given priority at all higher education institutions to ensure facilities and continuous education support systems can be given to OKU students,” he said.

He said among the points touched on in the guidelines are barriers in the system that discriminate against the OKU.

An example Maszlee gave is the maximum graduation period which needs to be extended for OKU as most of them need more time to complete their studies and carry out research.

Study materials that specifically cater to those who are visually-impaired, deaf or have different learning abilities should also be provided, he said.

Infrastructure needs to be upgraded so that the community can access the facilities at the institutions.

He gave examples on the lack of ramps, lifts and narrow toilets that all need to be looked into.

Maszlee acknowledged that the ministry does not have the funds to do all these upgrades and changes.

As of now, he added, higher education institutions are using their own funds to carry out the changes.

He urged the private sector to step forward and help fund the changes needed for the benefit of the OKU community.

Maszlee said the guidelines state that all IPTA must use the policy and establish an OKU Services Unit that is separate from the Students Affairs Unit.

The OKU Services Unit will cater not just to OKU students but staff as well, he said, adding that he hopes the new unit will be placed under the vice-chancellor’s office.

Although it is not compulsory for private higher education institutions (IPTS) to follow the guidelines, Maszlee hopes they will also adopt it to increase accessibility to education for the OKU community.

So far, he added, Universiti Malaya (UM), IIUM and Universiti Sains Malaysia have implemented the policy while the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus is one of the IPTS using the policy.

IIUM rector Prof Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak said providing OKU with the necessary support will give them access to quality education, ultimately developing both themselves and society.

“IIUM gives special attention to its OKU staff and students with its IIUM Disability Inclusion Policy,” he said.

By REBECCA RAJAENDRAM
Read more @
https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/09/05/dr-maszlee-all-iptas-must-be-completely-disabled-friendly-within-10-years#Zlh57mFvRBupKcUb.99

Council for people with disabilities soon – Frankie

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

Poon signing a document to show his commitment to implement the Asean Enabling Masterplan 2025 while, from left, Chew, Wong, Chee and others look on.

KOTA KINABALU: The Ministry of Health and People’s Wellbeing in collaboration with the Social Welfare Department (JPKA) will form a Sabah Persons with Disabilities (OKU) Rehabilitation Council to implement policies, laws and programmes with OKU organizations.

Its minister Datuk Frankie Poon Ming Fung said the council, which included various government agencies and OKUs, would look into the needs of physically challenged people.

He said the council aimed to assist OKUs who had difficulties in assessing public facilities.

“Many government facilities have done their level best to cater to the needs of physically challenged persons, including the visually impaired.”

Nevertheless, Poon said the council would study the recommendations proposed and play an advisory role to public institutions such as the Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) and local councils statewide.

He said this at the closing ceremony of the State-level awareness workshop on the Asean Enabling Masterplan 2025 themed ‘Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ here yesterday.

Poon also signed a document declaring the ministry’s commitment to implement the masterplan.

He said the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006 has emphasized that OKUs have equal rights and status as normal people in terms of the social, cultural, economic and political aspects.

“As such, the views and interests of OKU must be taken into account in every social, economic and political agenda.”

He said people with special needs could equally contribute to the society.

“Hence, we have to cater for and recognize the needs of this special group of people.”

Read more @ https://www.theborneopost.com/2019/08/29/council-for-people-with-disabilities-soon-frankie/

More careers for more special people

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

LAST week we looked at some careers that special people can consider.

(Special people are people who have some physical or mental disability. Since they are handicapped, they need some special help.)

With the correct guidance they can choose a career and enter the workforce.

Malaysia is very short of skilled workers and they too can play an important role in the employment sector. Let us look at more career options for special people.

Industrial machinery worker
:

The task of industrial machinery workers are to repair and sustain the various equipment of the factory and other machineries and should examine their efficiency.

It will need fundamental education in the field of mechanics and the setting where they will have to work would be industries or factories. Hearing impaired candidates are often considered for this field of occupation.

Machinist or tool die maker:

They are responsible for the arrangement and operation of machines and tools which are managed mechanically or by computers.

The duties specifically are to work with the outline, design and sketches then calculating and validate the dimensions, shaping and pulverising machine parts to the design and requirements and monitoring as well as inspecting products for any defects.

Computer system analyst:

In this profession one is accountable to review the systems of the computer and protocols to facilitate smooth functioning of the management of an organisation more effectively.

Computer design organisations and finance and insurance, government and computer management are the frequent employers of this profession. Computer system analyst can work with one organisation or be self employed and function as consultants.

Graphic designers:

The abstract intellectual will be very beneficial to one to become graphic designer.

As a graphic designer one has to conceptualise a design and then work with specific software for its development.

It is a thriving sector and with adequate skills of designing and knowledge of software, the person with disability can easily fit in a slot.

Medical transcription job:

The functions involve the process of transcription that is converting voice recorded information as dictated by healthcare professionals or physicians into text format.

With adequate training one can work in this profession even from home.

Mystery shopping and survey work:

Mystery shoppers are paid to pretend as regular customers and rate a service or store. Filling survey forms is another good option for people with disabilities.

Legal careers:

A person with disability can choose to become a legal secretary, legal assistant, and paralegal.

The legal field provides with many job openings, the majority of which do not need physical labour.

Some job tasks may need a two year degree nevertheless; most require certificate or training courses.

Floral designer:

A person with disability, who is fond of flowers or plants, can become a floral designer. It is the art of using flowers and materials to create a pleasing and stable masterpiece.

It is a traditional practice in many cultures. There is a broader occupation of floristry for flower lovers.

Artist:

A disabled person can turn into an artist with training or skills. Creating paintings or drawings and exhibiting it can be a good option. Most of the people with disabilities are in this field.

Food service worker:

Making, selling and transporting the food to various restaurants, schools, hospitals or lodging institutions is a very good option for people with disabilities.

One should be a good cook or manage cooks and provide services to different organisations. It can be an owned service or working under an establishment.

Day care workers:

It refers to people who take care of others who are incapable of taking their own care, like children and will be at risk if left alone on their own, or their caretakers want relief in the daytime. Specific disabled people can effectively function in this profession.

Animal caretakers:

The primary duties of an animal caretaker are to take care of the needs of animals.

Tasks such as feed, bathe, groom and exercise animals that are pets or other non-farm animals are some functions. It may differ as per place of work. If a person with disability is fond of animals, this job for them is definitely enjoyable.

Appointment clerk:

The job specification is much broader than regular receptionist or information provider.

Scheduling and recording the appointment details, communicating with callers, reminding of appointments etc are some of the functions of an appointment clerk.

Career Tips

Never lose hope in finding the appropriate job that suits your capability. The only disability in one’s life is bad attitude, thus change your attitude towards life and stay positive.

You can definitely perform tasks available to the people with able-bodies.

Those who have sight, hearing, or mobility impairments can even mould their disabilities into employment resources by means of careful self-promotion and selection of job.

by K Krishnan

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/interest/242/more-careers-for-more-special-people-/

Careers for special people

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

MALAYSIA is very short of skilled workers. The government is trying ways and means to reduce foreign workers from working in Malaysia.

While many steps are being taken, it is worth considering the thousands of disabled Malaysians who are not usefully employed.

They may have the skills, but society is often skeptical in employing disabled people.

If only the attitude of employers change, we will have access to another group of employable Malaysians. They can easily fit into our society. At the same time we have the opportunity to provide employment for our own disabled workers.

The word “disability” itself says that one’s ability has been disabled, that is a person cannot carry out all the normal and regular physical or mental tasks. However a person who is suffering from a disability can channel his skills and knowledge in his chosen career.

Disability cannot pull a person down completely and to have a job, he has to be well motivated to support himself to hunt for jobs that he can do well. Most often these people are highly motivated and excel in their work.

If one is confused as to what jobs will be appropriate considering the disability, below is a list of jobs that one can choose as per the interests and ability of one. Delve into the many job openings available to you and work on whatever you are capable of doing.

Different Types of Jobs for People with Disabilities:

1. Accountant:

An accountant is responsible to keep or examine financial records. Financial institutions are considered as the highest employers of job hunters with disabilities.

The accounting opportunity is predominantly promising.

2. Financial Analyst:

Financial analyst has to analyse the capability of finance related bodies for investments. They have to evaluate whether an entity will be stable, solvent or profitable.

Thus one with certain disability can work as financial analyst as financial analysis is another eminent growing field in the financial area.

3. Management consultant:

Management consultant is someone who helps organisations to augment their functioning, performance and working primarily through the evaluation of existing organisational tribulations and the development of plans for advancement.

The organisations believe that these disabilities struck candidates will be able to help them effectively to overcome their challenges as the disabled people have themselves overcome many trials. Hence, with appropriate education one can easily find jobs in this field.

4.  Market research analyst:

Data on competitors and consumers are gathered and analysed to study market situation and to understand the potential of a product or service for sales.

The people with disabilities are able to contribute unique insights to the businesses that are looking up to adapt their consumers’ choices of products.

5. Pharmaceutical sales:

It involves the process of sales of drugs that has been clinically examined for its effectiveness and safety.

Many of the employers of people with disabilities in this sector are specialists in pharmaceutical sales.

6. Pharmacy technician:

Under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, a pharmacy technician works as a health care provider carrying out pharmacy related operations.

This field has encountered high growth. The field has a verified track record for hiring job seekers who have disabilities.

7. Physician assistant:

A physician assistant is one who provides with health care and is inevitable in today’s health care structure.

They have to practice medicine along with physicians or other health care professionals to deliver premium health care to patients. One may encounter aiding others with disabilities.

8.  Software engineer:

They are responsible in the development, design and conservation of software. It is a top career and a growing sector for the job seekers with disabilities.

9. Vocational counselors:

It is a profession in which one assists person who has disabilities to assess their strengths as well as weaknesses with the intention of helping them in selecting the careers or jobs that expands their potentials to become active contributors to the workforce.

The people who themselves have disabilities have the best knowledge and insight to find the right career as they have crossed the path themselves and no one better than them can be able to counsel others with such disabilities.

10. Salesperson:

The role of the salesperson is of someone trying to sell a product or service through his communicating skills.

He has to convince a potential customer about how a product or service would meet their perceived needs.

There is need of salesperson virtually anywhere and is a best job option for a person with disabilities.

11. Self employment:

Owning and running a business, serving as consultant for other businesses, being an independent lawyer, online tutors are all few of the examples from the many self employed jobs available.

One carrying out self employment can work from home or personal office space and in some cases in client’s office.

12. Accessibility consulting:

It comprises of consulting the organisations on how they can improve their offices and neighbouring areas and make them more user friendly for the people with various disabilities.

13. Teacher:

Teacher is someone who helps people of different age groups develop intellectually and specialise in new skills.

The people with disability can help others with disability or without, through their experienced proficiency.

They can be involved in online education too. With the required education or if the disability was struck later in one’s life, they can teach about their former profession to others.

14. Writers:

Writers have to communicate via their written words to the readers. One can write on whatever he knows, possibly about disability. Writing articles in magazines, newspapers, web or eBooks or blogs is possible.

One can be self employed by writing books.

Companies or non-profit organisations also hire individuals to convey their messages to the readers through newsletters, brochures, press releases and other promotional stuff for which one must be a very persuasive writer.

by K. Khrishnan

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/interest/238/careers-for-special-people/

Careers for special people

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

MALAYSIA is very short of skilled workers. The government is trying ways and means to reduce foreign workers from working in Malaysia.

While many steps are being taken, it is worth considering the thousands of disabled Malaysians who are not usefully employed.

They may have the skills, but society is often skeptical in employing disabled people.

If only the attitude of employers change, we will have access to another group of employable Malaysians. They can easily fit into our society. At the same time we have the opportunity to provide employment for our own disabled workers.

The word “disability” itself says that one’s ability has been disabled, that is a person cannot carry out all the normal and regular physical or mental tasks. However a person who is suffering from a disability can channel his skills and knowledge in his chosen career.

Disability cannot pull a person down completely and to have a job, he has to be well motivated to support himself to hunt for jobs that he can do well. Most often these people are highly motivated and excel in their work.

If one is confused as to what jobs will be appropriate considering the disability, below is a list of jobs that one can choose as per the interests and ability of one. Delve into the many job openings available to you and work on whatever you are capable of doing.

Different Types of Jobs for People with Disabilities:

1. Accountant:

An accountant is responsible to keep or examine financial records. Financial institutions are considered as the highest employers of job hunters with disabilities.

The accounting opportunity is predominantly promising.

2. Financial Analyst:

Financial analyst has to analyse the capability of finance related bodies for investments. They have to evaluate whether an entity will be stable, solvent or profitable.

Thus one with certain disability can work as financial analyst as financial analysis is another eminent growing field in the financial area.

3. Management consultant:

Management consultant is someone who helps organisations to augment their functioning, performance and working primarily through the evaluation of existing organisational tribulations and the development of plans for advancement.

The organisations believe that these disabilities struck candidates will be able to help them effectively to overcome their challenges as the disabled people have themselves overcome many trials. Hence, with appropriate education one can easily find jobs in this field.

4.  Market research analyst:

Data on competitors and consumers are gathered and analysed to study market situation and to understand the potential of a product or service for sales.

The people with disabilities are able to contribute unique insights to the businesses that are looking up to adapt their consumers’ choices of products.

5. Pharmaceutical sales:

It involves the process of sales of drugs that has been clinically examined for its effectiveness and safety.

Many of the employers of people with disabilities in this sector are specialists in pharmaceutical sales.

6. Pharmacy technician:

Under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, a pharmacy technician works as a health care provider carrying out pharmacy related operations.

This field has encountered high growth. The field has a verified track record for hiring job seekers who have disabilities.

7. Physician assistant:

A physician assistant is one who provides with health care and is inevitable in today’s health care structure.

They have to practice medicine along with physicians or other health care professionals to deliver premium health care to patients. One may encounter aiding others with disabilities.

8. Software engineer:

They are responsible in the development, design and conservation of software. It is a top career and a growing sector for the job seekers with disabilities.

9. Vocational counsellors:

It is a profession in which one assists person who has disabilities to assess their strengths as well as weaknesses with the intention of helping them in selecting the careers or jobs that expands their potentials to become active contributors to the workforce.

The people who themselves have disabilities have the best knowledge and insight to find the right career as they have crossed the path themselves and no one better than them can be able to counsel others with such disabilities.

10. Salesperson:

The role of the salesperson is of someone trying to sell a product or service through his communicating skills.

He has to convince a potential customer about how a product or service would meet their perceived needs.

There is need of salesperson virtually anywhere and is a best job option for a person with disabilities.

11. Self employment:

Owning and running a business, serving as consultant for other businesses, being an independent lawyer, online tutors are all few of the examples from the many self employed jobs available.

One carrying out self employment can work from home or personal office space and in some cases in client’s office.

12. Accessibility consulting:

It comprises of consulting the organisations on how they can improve their offices and neighbouring areas and make them more user friendly for the people with various disabilities.

13. Teacher:

Teacher is someone who helps people of different age groups develop intellectually and specialise in new skills.

The people with disability can help others with disability or without, through their experienced proficiency.

They can be involved in online education too. With the required education or if the disability was struck later in one’s life, they can teach about their former profession to others.

14. Writers:

Writers have to communicate via their written words to the readers. One can write on whatever he knows, possibly about disability. Writing articles in magazines, newspapers, web or eBooks or blogs is possible.

One can be self employed by writing books.

Companies or non-profit organisations also hire individuals to convey their messages to the readers through newsletters, brochures, press releases and other promotional stuff for which one must be a very persuasive writer.

by Krishnan.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/interest/238/careers-for-special-people/

Special needs ‘education’ for doctors and all

Thursday, June 13th, 2019
Children from the Nuha Kids Care Centre participating in early intervention activities.
By Rozana Sani - June 12, 2019 @ 12:45pm

LEARNING and developmental disabilities are quite common among children in Malaysia.

They include global developmental delay (GDD), intellectual disability, autism, Down Syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

There are also specific learning disorders like dyscalculia (severe difficulty in making arithmetic calculations), dysgraphia (unable to write coherently) and dyslexia (difficulty in reading or interpreting words, letters and other symbols).

According to the Welfare Department, there were 82,447 children registered with these disorders in 2016, which account for about 71 per cent of the total children with disabilities.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Faculty of Medicine lecturer and family medicine specialist Dr Ezura Madiana Md Monoto said as public awareness on autism, ADHD, dyslexia and other learning disabilities increased, more parents are seeking help when they notice that their children are not developing as well as their peers.

“There are long queues at government hospitals and primary care clinics for consultation on learning and developmental disabilities.

“Private hospitals, learning centres and non-governmental organisations are also providing therapies for special needs children.

“In our (UKM) setting, other than referring patients to our colleagues in the psychiatric and paediatric departments, we also offer rehabilitation services, such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech therapy.

“We also work hand-in-hand with NGOs such as SOLS Health to provide assessment and intervention to our patients.

“Obviously, we need more specialists and facilities that are easily accessible to detect, diagnose and provide early intervention for special needs children at an affordable cost,” she said.

To provide exposure to medical students and, at the same time produce more experts, Dr Ezura said students at UKM Medical (UKMMC) will get the opportunity to work with such patients during their clinical years.

“We have the Child Development Centre under the paediatrics department, Child Psychiatry Clinic under the psychiatric department, and Child and Adolescents Clinic under UKMMC’s primary care clinic, where students will work in rotations.

“When they are posted to other teaching hospitals, too, they have the opportunity to see these cases as their prevalence is high in our communities.

“They have ample opportunity to see and discuss such cases with specialists and doctors, in which they gain valuable experience to handle these cases in future,” she said.

Dr Ezura said final-year medical students at UKM undergo their family medicine posting for five weeks, and they will be posted to UKMMC’s primary care clinic in Kuala Lumpur, and Klinik Kesihatan Batu 9 Cheras and Klinik Kesihatan Batu 14 Hulu Langat in Selangor, to allow them to work in the community.

She said they will learn to practice patient-centered consultation and apply the continuity of care concept in managing patients. They will be exposed to personalised healthcare that has cost-effective and quality features.

Being a public university that trains specialists in family medicine, UKM’s Family Medicine Department also runs a Child and Adolescent Clinic.

It is open in UKMMC every Tuesday, and the clinic provides therapy for patients under 18 with learning difficulties, and developmental and behavioural disorders.

Special needs youngsters are referred to the Child and Adolescent Clinic from schools, government clinics and private practitioners.

“With increasing awareness, sometimes parents themselves walk in to consult on their children’s problems. We work hand in hand with UKMMC’s Child Development Clinic and Child Psychiatry Clinic to diagnose and coordinate care for these children and adolescents.

“Students attached here have the opportunity to serve at the clinic under the supervision of lecturers and family medicine specialists.

“With increased prevalence of such disabilities in Malaysia, they will be the frontliners in the community to detect, manage and coordinate care for patients after they graduate.

“We also provide continuous education for medical practitioners who like to learn about this subject,” said Dr Ezura, adding that the clinic also conducts awareness programmes for the public.

Recently, the UKMMC Child and Adolescent Clinic carried out a programme to mark autism and Down Syndrome. It was officiated by Faculty of Medicine assistant dean (learning & CITRA) Professor Datuk Dr Harlina Halizah Siraj.

Dr Harlina said not everybody is capable of going through the challenges of raising children with special needs.

Therefore, society needs to be empathic, accepting and willing to lend full support to these families.

“Hence, that is why we organise this awareness programme today — to educate society on what Down Syndrome and autism are all about, how people with different abilities live their life.

“Typical people like us need to create an inclusive environment for them to thrive and achieve their full potential alongside with us,” she said.

Twenty-three UKM medical graduates and students volunteered to help out in the event.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to work with children and adolescents with autism and Down Syndrome as it gives us the chance to understand them better and learn how to support them and their family,” said Nur Nazira Safani, 25, who graduated last year and is waiting for her housemanship posting.

Dr Ezura, who headed the organising committee, said it took two weeks to secure funding and put the event together.

“Within a short period, we managed to bring Andi Miranti, a teenager with autism who published his comic Ned Dickens; Amira Daniea, an autistic but talented young artist who has her own line of tudung and art pieces; and Yan Wei Xing, eight, a boy with Down Syndrome who helps his parents plant and sell hydrangea flowers.

“We also engaged SOLS Health to provide psychological assessment for visitors and Nuha Kids Care Centre to do gross motor circuit activities for the children.

“We held an exhibition on what early intervention is all about. Speech language pathologists and dietitians from UKM were also at hand to provide advice and hands-on demonstration to parents,” said Dr Ezura.

“This was a good initiative to show the community what people with autism and Down Syndrome can do if early intervention is initiated to minimise gaps in developmental milestones and social functions,” said Florence Lim Tze Teng, who is the mother of Yan Wei Xing.

“Although there are prevailing negative perception and attitude from the community, we need to help our special needs children to prepare themselves for the future — to be independent and, hopefully, integrate successfully with their peers and the community,” she added.

By Rozana Sani .

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2019/06/495691/special-needs-education-doctors-and-all

Teaching children with autism a special, exciting challenge

Friday, May 17th, 2019
Norshahila Omar (right) with Nurul Ain Mohd Ilias (centre) and Azlini Mohamed Sidi teaching the children at the Nasom centre in Kuantan. -NSTP/ MUHD ASYRAF SAWAL

KUANTAN: Teacher Norshahila Omar arrives at her workplace at Kubang Buaya here knowing that a fun-filled day awaits her albeit some tense moments with her students which occasionally drives her up the wall.

The 29-year-old joined the Kuantan branch National Autism Society of Malaysia’s (Nasom) in 2009, and just when some assume that teaching a child with autism may seem a daunting task, Norshahila has made great strides in her career.

The mother-of-one said she was startled when she first stepped into the centre as the autism children had various characters, there was communication barrier and it was tough to understand them.

However as time passed, she began to fall in love with the children and her job, and was always looking forward to teaching them as she felt that she could make a difference in their lives.

Norshahila said although she was strict during lessons, she will sometimes pamper and love the children like her own as the students feel more secured and listened attentively when people provided them with more attention.

“When I first joined here, there was one student was refused to listen and one day, when I became angry and raised my voice, the student was shocked and started to listen to me. So I guess that did the trick…you have to act depending on the situation, and study your students closely as it will help to understand their mood and behaviour better.

“Each student has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. Some may be excellent in memorising but find it tough to read or spell so we as teachers must be prepared for all situations….we have to be patient, be a good listener and give them space to express themselves,” she said when met at the Nasom centre here yesterday.

Norshahila said there were some autistic students who were unable to speak when they first arrived at the centre but eventually begin to speak and could now form sentences.

“One student arrived to centre when he was four and could not speak a single word…we was only babbling. But at the age of nine he started to talk and even sing songs, and now he can arrange sentences and write on paper. His parents were very excited and happy for him.

“In school, there are students with various characters…one loves to laugh all day long for reasons only known to them, one gets angry when the classroom lights are switched off and one will suddenly break down in tears when his parents decide to take a different road to school. As teachers we must be able to ensure the student does not get carried away with his feelings but try to focus on the lessons and activities in the classroom,” she said.

She said there were different methods handle the children especially the young ones and those in their teenage years.

Norshahila said as teachers they had to be always creative to attract the students attention and the first approach during lessons is important to leave a lasting impression on the students.

She said some of the students aged between 10 and 19-years-old were now involved in baking classes and multi-coloured tie-dye artwork which was something the students looked forward to.

“At times when they refuse to listen, we will promise them a small reward which will make them a little eager. For example, when a student does not want to mix the dough for cookies, we will tell the student that he or her will be allowed to use the computer if they successfully complete the task.

“Usually when they hear the word baking, everyone will know their responsibilities in the kitchen and start doing the necessary including wearing their apron,

arranging the plastic jars and trays, and cleaning the table. Once they enjoy doing a certain task,it is easy for them to learn and understand,” she said.

eanwhile, Nurul Ain Mohd Ilias, 29, who joined to teach at the centre here some three months ago, said earlier she sometimes felt a little down when a student threw a tantrum or refused to listen.

“You have to understand their character to ensure they pay attention during lessons….each student has a different character and sees things from a different perspective.

“When we want the student to study but he or she does not understand, then we should give them some space or something else to work on for example painting. Some children are rough and pinch the teachers but that is part and parcel of the job,” she said.

Nurul Ain, who is a Master of Education (Visual Arts) holder, described teaching the children here as fun as they were adventurous and prepared for new challenges.

“I previously taught in Kuala Lumpur which was attended by both normal and autistic students. The challenges here are different but I am enjoying it and the best moments are when you see the children under your care making progress either in education or living skills.

“You cannot be too strict with them. Put yourself in their shoes to understand them better….some might make slow progress but its our role to bring out the best in them. I always believe that teaching the child will help create happiness for the children’s family (when the child shows progress),” she said.

By TN Alagesh.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2019/05/489355/teaching-children-autism-special-exciting-challenge