Fatimah: We need doctors to help us discover dyslexia in young children

Monday October 22, 2012

KUCHING: Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah is worried for the future of “some” children out there having dyslexia or dyslexia-related disorders, but are not identified yet.

She said Sarawak certainly needed doctors who could recognise dyslexia at an early age to reduce such instances.

According to her, it was an accepted fact that dyslexia was a challenging condition to diagnose, treat or even define.

She said while the state, through the Sarawak Dyslexia Association (SDA), had reached out to the teachers’ training colleges to train some teachers to recognise dyslexia and how to remediate dyslexia at an early age, there was still a need to obtain doctors’ services, especially in the rural areas.

“The challenge for us now is to work with the medical department to provide doctors who can detect children with dyslexia, not just in towns but also in small rural clinics.

“We need to prepare ourselves for the next step so that we can help more children with dyslexia to fulfil their life’s potential,” she said at the SDA charity dinner here Saturday.

Fatimah, who is SDA advisor, said without identification and proven intervention, all children with reading difficulties early on would still struggle with reading when they became adults.

The charity dinner was to raise funds for building a Dyslexia Learning and Resource Centre on a piece of land in Batu Kawa given by the state government.

The centre will have classrooms, a resource centre and hostel for children and their families from outside Kuching.

SDA has also appealed for a bigger piece of land to set up a vocational centre for young adults with learning disabilities.

Currently, there are about 130 children registered with SDA.

LINUS programme to detect dyslexia symptoms

Monday October 8, 2012


KUCHING: The Education Ministry, through the Literacy and Numeracy Screening (LINUS) programme, has established an early detection ground for dyslexic students to ensure help is provided at an early stage.

All Year 1 to Year 3 students have to undergo a LINUS test to determine their level of competency in reading, writing and arithmetic (3R).

The Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah has shared that this system is trusted to be able to provide an early detection of children with dyslexia symptoms so they can be provided with special education to help them cope with their education needs.

“More public awareness needs to be created to help children with dyslexia in this state.

“They are intelligent but they sometimes find it hard to communicate or have problems with spelling.

“At times, our children are immediately accused of being slow, lazy and frequently punished in school because they fail to master reading and spelling.

“This is down to the teachers not being able to detect that those children may be troubled by dyslexia,” she said during a visit to the Dyslexia Association of Sarawak (DASwk) at their office.

In light of the situation, Fatimah has requested DASwk to step up efforts to create awareness and understanding among the society on dyslexia.

Online rehabilitation efforts should also be introduced to guide parents and teachers to assist children with dyslexia.

Awareness and information on rehabilitation should be shared with teachers in schools and parents who have children experiencing dyslexia,” she said.

However, Fatimah said that children with dyslexia are not categorised as disabled because they are not physically handicapped but experiencing delay in processing images and understanding visuals.

According to her, children in Sarawak with symptoms of dyslexia are advised to get a proper diagnosis at Klinik Jawa, Jalan P. Ramlee before undergoing any rehabilitation efforts recommended by DASwk.

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Every child has potential to succeed

Wednesday September 5, 2012


EVERY child has the potential to succeed despite the learning impairment and physical disability that they may suffer from, said Education Ministry Special Education Division director Bong Muk Shin.

“The society needs to shift its perception to look beyond the condition of children with special needs and learning difficulties.

“Rather, we should be focusing on helping them to achieve their potential,” said Bong.

Unique child: One of the symptoms of dyslexia is writing letters or numbers backward.Unique child: One of the symptoms of dyslexia is writing letters or numbers backward.

Every year, the Ministry carries out various outreach programmes to raise awareness on the learning disorders in children such as dyslexia and autism.

“Overall, the general awareness on learning disorders is still relatively low.

“The Education Ministry is working closely with the Social Welfare Department and the Health Ministry to highlight these conditions and provide help to those who are affected,” said Bong.

The programme focuses on remote areas where amenities such as transportation, medical and communications might be limited.

Out of the 2,903 students visited by the outreach team recently, 744 students are identified as having learning difficulties.

Bong also reveals that the number of students enrolled in special education classes has doubled to 54,000 over the past few years, not including students with physical disabilities.

The society needs to shift its perception to look beyond the condition of children with special needs and learning difficulties. - BONG MUK SHINThe society needs to shift its perception to look beyond the condition of children with special needs and learning difficulties. – BONG MUK SHIN

Currently, there are 1,945 regular schools in the country which are running integrated programmes for students with learning difficulties.

Under the LINUS programme, Year One pupils who are identified with learning difficulties are referred for medical assessment after screening.

They are later enrolled in the remedial programme or sent to special education classes for students with special needs based on the outcome of their medical assessment. The teacher factor

Dyslexia Association of Malaysia president Sariah Amirin agrees that the LINUS programme is timely to address the problem of a significant number of children in schools who failed to master basic literacy and numeracy skills.

She believes that the remedial teachers play the most important role in ensuring that the programme achieves its objectives.

“Teachers need to bear in mind that each child is unique so there is no one fits all method to teach the child.

“Most importantly, teachers must be well trained in phonetics to teach the children how to blend the sounds when teaching reading,” said Sariah.

She also points out that a small class size with one teacher to five pupils is most ideal in a remedial literacy programme.

Furthermore, Sariah said screening tests for reading disorders should be conducted earlier at the preschool level.

“By age five, most children are able to recognise letters. Some children can speak very well but have major problems in reading, this is a sign that parents should look out for in symptoms of dyslexia,” said Sariah.

On the other hand, the National Autism Society of Malaysia (Nasom) assistant general manager Osman Teh Abdullah said children with learning difficulties should not be segregated from the mainstream education.

“We believe that it is best for the children with learning difficulties to be placed in regular schools as they will have the opportunity to mingle with their peers and assimilate into the school community.

“It is our hope that more remedial teachers will be trained to accommodate the needs of children with learning difficulties,” he said.

At the moment, Nasom is working with several local universities in a study to design a curriculum for children with autism.

MOs trained to address issues related to dyslexia — Fatimah

Posted on June 7, 2012, Thursday

by Chen Ai Shih, reporters@theborneopost.com.

ONE FOR THE ALBUM: Fatimah (standing, seventh left) with DAS personnel and students.

KUCHING: The State Health Department has begun its in-house training for medical officers to address dyslexia-related problems.

Welfare, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said this at the opening ceremony of the ‘Dyslexia Literacy Camp’ at Dyslexia Association Sarawak’s (DAS) yesterday.

“We hope more medical officers will be trained. Ideally there must be at least one trained medical officer in every health clinic,” said Fatimah.

She suggested that every health clinic set gazetted days for children with special needs to make it convenient for parents and teachers to bring them.

“My dialogue session with State Education Department, State Health Department and DAS early this year reveals areas that need improvement. Not all health clinics in the state have Family Medicine Specialist and not all of them are able to make assessments on learning disabilities,” Fatimah pointed out.

She said in 2011, a research led by Assoc Prof Dr Rokiah Omar from University Kebangsaan Malaysia, found that special reading aids improved reading among dyslexic children in Peninsula Malaysia.

DAS together with Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation was duplicating this research for the sake of dyslexic children. Some 40 students including one from Bintulu are involved in this project which ends in June 2013.

She said the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation under its Community Innovation Fund recently financed the Dyslexia Association of Sarawak’s innovative website http://www.dyslexia-swk.com

It is aimed at reaching out and creating awareness of dyslexia in the public including teachers and parents.

Under this collaboration, DAS conducted workshops for remedial teachers and school counsellors from 10 districts: Kuching, Kota Samarahan, Dalat, Limbang, Kapit, Bintulu, Sarikei, Betong, Miri and Sri Aman.

She said feedback from questionnaires indicated there were still teachers who thought dyslexia was an intellectual disability, so had a tough time trying to get dyslexics to read and write.

Also present was the camp commandant Richard Sia who said the state government had granted DAS a two-acre piece of land at Desa Wira.

Sia said: “We come out with the initial plan comprising administration building, classrooms, sports, hostels, vocational training centre and land for teaching students landscaping.”

DAS has a list of activities in October to raise funds for the new RM3 million building.

Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2012/06/07/mos-trained-to-address-issues-related-to-dyslexia-fatimah/#ixzz1x4FnjeYE

Oxcell rancang pemeriksaan disleksia di sekolah

22 Mei 2012, Selasa


Pengajar Oxcell, Aisyah Yushar (kanan) mengajar Wan Nur Adiba Wan Mohd Azraf sambil diperhatikan Louis Barnett (tiga dari kanan) dan Nor Aishah Daud (dua dari kanan) di Kuala Lumpur, kelmarin.

KUALA LUMPUR 21 Mei – Pusat Perkembangan Minda dan Pemulihan Disleksia, Pusat Kecemerlangan Oxford (Oxcell) merancang mengadakan program pemeriksaan disleksia di semua sekolah rendah seluruh negara.

Pengetuanya, Nor Aishah Daud berkata, perkara itu sedang dibincangkan dengan Kementerian Pelajaran dan akan dilaksanakan sebaik mendapat kelulusan kerajaan.

Katanya, pemeriksaan dan pemulihan awal penting bagi memastikan proses pembelajaran serta tumbesaran kanak-kanak yang mengalami disleksia berjalan secara normal.

“Kita merasakan ini merupakan tanggungjawab sosial dalam membantu masyarakat, sekali gus mengesan kanak-kanak yang mempunyai masalah tersebut di peringkat awal.

“Apatah lagi kini dianggarkan seramai 400,000 kanak-kanak di seluruh negara mengalami masalah disleksia,” katanya kepada pemberita pada majlis perasmian Pusat Perkembangan Minda Oxcell, di sini semalam.

Perasmian itu disempurnakan ikon perniagaan muda Oxcell dari United Kingdom (UK), Louis Barnett yang mengalami disleksia sejak berumur 11 tahun namun berjaya menjadi usahawan coklat berjaya.

Turut hadir Presiden Oxcell, Dr. Saiful Bahri Musa.

Menurut Nor Aishah, menerusi program itu, pihaknya akan turun padang dan bertemu keluarga miskin yang mempunyai anak-anak mengalami disleksia.

Beliau berkata, pihaknya kemudiannya akan mencari keluarga atau orang perseorangan yang berkemampuan bagi menampung kos pembelajaran kanak-kanak tersebut di Pusat Disleksia Oxcell.

“Setakat ini, terdapat dua individu yang sudi menjadi bapa angkat bagi menampung separuh kos pembelajaran dua kanak-kanak mengalami disleksia di pusat ini,” katanya.

“Sokongan yang diterima juga sangat menggalakkan apabila bapa angkat itu sendiri menghubungi pihak kami untuk mengetahui perkembangan anak angkat mereka walaupun tidak pernah berjumpa,” katanya.

Sementara itu, Nor Aishah memberitahu, pusat pemulihan disleksia itu yang ditubuhkan tahun lalu sehingga kini mempunyai seramai 27 kanak-kanak disleksia berumur antara empat dan 15 tahun.

Katanya, kos pembelajaran mereka di pusat tersebut pula adalah sebanyak RM450 sebulan.

Sementara itu, bagi Barnett, apa yang dilakukan Oxcell adalah satu usaha murni kerana dapat memberi akses sama rata terhadap peluang pendidikan di kalangan kanak-kanak disleksia.

Beliau yakin usaha itu akan membuahkan hasil kerana kanak-kanak istimewa tersebut dapat dikesan dan dipulihkan dari peringkat awal.

Barnett: I see dyslexia as an ability

May 21, 2012 , Monday


KUALA LUMPUR: Forced to leave school when he was 11 years old because of learning disabilities, Louis Barnett, now 20, has finally come to terms that he is different.

Businessman and dyslexic Louis Barnett (left) sounding the gong to signify the opening of the Oxcell Dyslexia and Remedial Centre (ODRC). With him is ODRC director Nor Aishah Daud. Pic by Khairunisah Lokman
1 / 1
After being diagnosed with dyslexia, he continued his education through home-schooling and one day the chocolate cake that he had baked for a birthday party received a good response.
He started making chocolate cakes for friends and family and in 2005 he started his company Chokolit Ltd to deal with growing demand.
At 14, he was the youngest supplier of quality chocolate products to supermarket chains, Waitrose & Sainsburys in London.
Barnett is also Young Biz Ikon and is on a tour of 33 counties to share his successful journey in business. His tour is organised by the United Kingdom-based Oxford Centre for Excellence (Oxcell).
“Many see dyslexia as a disability or handicap, but for me it is an ability and opportunity that has brought me to where I am today.
“When I found out about dyslexia, I was kind of relieved. Then, I understood how it feels to have an interest in something that I can actually do well in,” he said at the opening of the Oxcell Dyslexia and Remedial Centre (ODRC) yesterday.
ODRC director Nor Aishah Daud said about 400,000 children in the country had dyslexia, but sadly the awareness of the disability was not well known. “Many parents think that whenever their kids cannot cope with their studies, it means they are stupid or something.
“In most cases, these kids need a more focused way of coaching.”
“Parents should not feel ashamed of their kids who have learning disabilities. Instead, they should seek professionals to help discover their kids’ abilities.”

Read more: Barnett: I see dyslexia as an ability – General – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/nation/general/barnett-i-see-dyslexia-as-an-ability-1.86021#ixzz1vT0XJwc5

Shahrizat: Early dyslexia detection programmes in all nurseries

Tuesday February 14, 2012


She said the ministry was working with the Dyslexia Association of Malaysia to prepare a module on the method of early detection of dyslexia among children.

“As the association has the expertise, it would be the smart partner of the ministry to create the pioneer project on the curriculum and module on early dyslexia detection at all nurseries registered with the department.

“I hope the module would be completed in the next five months for it to be distributed to the nurseries for application,” she told reporters after visiting a special Dyslexia Education Programme at Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Maluri (SKTM) here yesterday.

Shahrizat said dyslexia was one of the areas of disabilities given attention by the ministry as the Welfare Department had identified children as the group which needed immediate attention at the early stage.

She said the problem which was not well known in the community, especially among parents and teachers, was seen as the major short-coming in assisting children in the category and early detection could help realise their potential abilities.

“Actually dyslexic children are not disabled persons; they needed to be identified early and parent and teacher guidance could optimise their ability,” she said.

On the need for dyslexia education, Shahrizat said she had directed Welfare Department director-general Hadzir Mohamed Zain to hold a special meeting with teachers, parents and dyslexic children to collect information of their needs for the Education Ministry — Bernama

30 pelajar gagal kuasai asas 3M

08 Februari 2012, Rabu





KAPIT 7 Feb. – Sekolah Menengah Kerajaan (SMK) Kapit, di sini, bimbang dengan masalah pelajar tingkatan satu yang gagal menguasai kemahiran asas 3M (membaca, menulis dan mengira).

Pada tahun lepas, jumlah pelajarnya yang gagal 3M ialah kira-kira 20 orang namun, pada tahun ini, angkanya meningkat kepada 30 orang.

Pengetuanya, Manggie Nyegang ketika mendedahkan masalah tersebut melahirkan rasa terkilan kerana ia memberi tekanan dan beban berlebihan kepada para guru.

Katanya, masalah itu menjadi satu cabaran besar kepada para guru untuk mengajar manakala pelajar terbabit pula berisiko ketinggalan dalam sukatan pelajaran.

“Saya hairan, bagaimana mereka boleh lulus Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) jika tidak dapat membaca dan menulis.

“Selain pihak sekolah, pihak yang berwajib (Kementerian Pelajaran) harus mengambil berat masalah ini dan mencari jalan penyelesaian terbaik supaya ia tidak membebankan dan menjejaskan prestasi,” katanya.

Manggie berucap demikian pada Mesyuarat Agung Persatuan Ibu bapa dan Guru (PIBG) di Dewan Serbaguna sekolah terbabit, petang semalam.

Dalam pada itu, beliau juga mendedahkan SMK Kapit kini berhadapan dengan masalah kekurangan tenaga pengajar.

Sedangkan katanya, ramai graduan yang berkelayakan dari bahagian itu yang boleh mengisi kekosongan terbabit namun, tidak diberi peluang untuk berkhidmat kepada masyarakat.

“Apa yang menghairankan saya, kita dimaklumkan sebanyak 16 graduan tempatan lepasan Pendidikan masih menganggur.

“Sekurang-kurangnya kita boleh mengambil mereka bekerja sebagai guru sementara untuk menyelesaikan masalah kekurangan guru terutama di SMK Kapit,” katanya.

SMK Kapit mempunyai lebih daripada 2,100 orang pelajar tingkatan satu hingga enam dan sepatutnya mempunyai kuota sebanyak 140 orang tenaga pengajar.

Punca pelajar menengah gagal membaca, menulis

16 Januari 2012, Isnin


Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur
SAYA ingin merujuk kepada tulisan Hassan Salleh bertajuk ‘Di Manakah Silap Guru’ di ruangan ini yang menyentuh soal wujudnya pelatih-pelatih PLKN lepasan sekolah menengah yang masih tidak boleh membaca dan menulis.

Jawapan saya sebagai seorang guru yang telah lima tahun mengajar di sekolah menengah ialah:

n Di maktab perguruan, kami diajar bahawa murid yang tidak mengikut peraturan perlu dihukum. Tapi hakikatnya di sekolah, semua jenis hukuman ditangguhkan. Hukuman terbesar seperti buang sekolah pun boleh dibangkang oleh murid kerana kita ada dasar pendidikan wajib 11 tahun. Jadi semua murid boleh melanggar semua peraturan sekolah, seperti ponteng kelas dan tidak perlu menyiapkan kerja sekolah kerana tidak ada satu peraturan yang boleh menyentuh mereka. Murid boleh berjalan keluar dari kelas ketika guru sedang mengajar dan tidak ada siapa boleh menghalang mereka.

n Di maktab perguruan, kami diajar supaya mendahulukan kepentingan murid berbanding sekolah. Tapi hakikatnya di sekolah, guru disuruh bertungkus-lumus membuat kerja perkeranian sehingga tidak ada masa untuk mengajar. Terbaru di negeri Johor, pertandingan dibuat di antara sekolah-sekolah untuk mencari siapakah guru yang paling cekap membuat kerja perkeranian dan mengurus fail. Tentunya guru yang menang itu akan diberi anugerah dan dapat mengharumkan nama pengetua. Tapi kebanyakan guru yang menang itu tidak pernah memenangkan murid dalam apa-apa pertandingan pun.

n Di maktab perguruan, kami diajar supaya memikirkan cara bagaimana hendak mempelbagaikan kaedah pengajaran supaya murid yang pelbagai kerenah boleh dibantu. Tapi hakikatnya di sekolah, yang dipelbagaikan ialah jenis jawatankuasa, borang dan fail, bukan teknik pengajaran. Akhirnya setiap guru akan memegang 10 hingga 15 jawatan dalam pelbagai jawatankuasa, dan murid kadang-kadang satu buku pun tidak ada.

n Di maktab perguruan, kami diajar supaya ‘buat apa yang betul untuk murid’. Tapi hakikatnya di sekolah, pengetua hanya mahu mencari nama dan hendak cepat naik pangkat dan naik gaji. Oleh itu semua guru mesti berhempas pulas mengurus hal-ehwal sekolah. Kadang-kadang guru terpaksa meninggalkan kelas untuk hadir mesyuarat kerana pengetua mahu semua fail lengkap dan terkini.

n Di maktab perguruan, kami diajar supaya mengajar mengikut tahap murid. Untuk itu, murid diasingkan mengikut kelas. Murid yang pandai dan cekap akan diletak di kelas pandai, supaya guru boleh mengajar dengan pantas. Jika kurang cekap dan lemah, akan diletak di kelas kurang pandai supaya guru boleh mengajar perlahan-lahan dan murid boleh dibantu.

Tapi hakikatnya, ibu bapa menuduh guru menganggap anaknya bodoh jika diletak di kelas hujung, jadi ibu bapa akan bawa wartawan, bawa ahli politik dan bawa ketua kampung untuk serang guru di sekolah. Oleh kerana sekolah tidak suka orang politik mencari populariti dalam sekolah, sekolah pun beralah dan murid kurang pandai ini pun diletakkanlah di kelas pandai.

Ibu bapa pun baliklah dengan bangga dan berceritalah kepada jiran-jiran, kononnya anaknya di kelas pandai. Tapi akhirnya anaknya ketinggalan kerana tak mampu mengejar murid pandai yang lain dan guru akan diserang lagi kerana tak pandai mengajar.

n Di maktab perguruan, kami diajar supaya mendahulukan kepentingan klien. Tapi pihak Pejabat Pelajaran Daerah (PPD) dan Jabatan Pelajaran tidak pernah anggap guru sebagai klien mereka. Guru sekolah hanya ‘kuli’ pihak PPD dan jabatan semata-mata. Jika PPD dan jabatan minta data, guru mesti sediakan secepat mungkin. Kalau boleh dua saat selepas diminta, data mesti sudah sampai ke pejabat.

Dua hari selepas data dihantar, PPD dan jabatan akan telefon sekolah untuk memarahi pengetua kerana guru tidak hantar data. Pengetua pun marahlah kepada guru dan guru pun terpaksalah meninggalkan kelas untuk menghantar lagi data buat kesekian kalinya kerana PPD dan jabatan memang tidak pernah simpan apa-apa data pun. Setiap kali mahu apa-apa mereka akan minta dari sekolah, sehingga data yang sama boleh dihantar hampir sepuluh kali ke pejabat. Tanyalah kepada Guru Penolong Kanan Hal-Ehwal Murid, berapa kali agaknya data enrolmen murid dihantar ke pejabat dalam setahun.

Saya fikir kesilapan pihak guru ialah, lain yang diajar di maktab, lain yang perlu dbuat. Pengetua, PPD, jabatan dan ibu bapa, semua membuli guru sekolah. Kalau maktab perguruan mahu membantu hapuskan buta huruf, ajarlah guru pelatih bagaimana hendak ‘mengajar’ orang atasan.

Constraints no excuse for dyslexics not getting properly educated — Fatimah

Posted on December 7, 2011, Wednesday

KUCHING: The Dyslexia Association of Sarawak (DAS) will not let any constraints hinder children with learning difficulties from getting a proper education.

Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah who is DAS advisor said the state was found lacking when it came to intervention to help dyslexic children.

“We are facing various kinds of constraints in handling children with learning disabilities such as acute shortage of doctors to examine such student, and even after being diagnosed with dyslexia, there are no qualified teachers to teach in special schools,” she said, adding that such shortcomings should not be an excuse to delay intervention.

She told the media this at a news conference after chairing the first meeting for DAS, State Education Department and State Health Department to find ways and means to overcome constraints.

She said interim measures had to be worked out so those with dyslexia could be identified without further delay.

To achieve the objective, DAS, Education Department and Health Department in their meeting yesterday agreed to work together and do their best. Fatimah revealed that among others, the Health Department had agreed to make their doctors available in clinics to examine children with learning difficulties.

“This was among the things we agreed on in today’s meeting, and with this kind of arrangement, we believe children with dyslexia can be identified earlier. As we all know, dyslexia is different from other learning difficulties as it requires very specific intervention method,” she said.

DAS president Associate Professor Ong Puay Hoon said a statewide roadshow would be conducted from January to June next year on workshops for teachers dealing with dyslexic students.

“The workshops will be free of charge and teachers from special schools and those interested can contact our association at tel. 242900 to check our schedule. This is a small contribution by DAS towards the education of students with special needs,” she said.

Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2011/12/07/constraints-no-excuse-for-dyslexics-not-getting-properly-educated-%e2%80%94-fatimah/#ixzz1foIbAF4R