Every child has potential to succeed

Wednesday September 5, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/9/5/nation/11945194&sec=nation

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.

Special school needed for Down Syndrome children

Saturday September 1, 2012 MYT 6:26:00 PM

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/9/1/nation/20120901182618&sec=nation

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Down Syndrome Association has proposed the establishment of a special school for children suffering from Down Syndrome to assist them lead a normal life.

Its president, Wan Hanizan Wan Ramlan, said the school could be set up by the government or the private sector.

He said Down syndrome children required a distinctive approach in terms of the spiritual, physical, educational and health care aspects.

Wan Hanizan said special care centres set up by non-governmental organisations now housed children with special needs such as the blind, the deaf and those with Down Syndrome and autism under one roof, which he pointed out was not appropriate.

“The response of individuals with disabilities varies in different cases. That is why those with Down Syndrome need to have their own school to facilitate monitoring for their effective development,” he told Bernama.

Wan Hanizan also suggested that toll concessionaires employ physically challenged people as cashiers at toll plazas.

He said their families, especially the parents, should overcome their fears and allow their special children to work.

It was estimated that there were 50,000 Down Syndrome individuals nationwide at the moment, with one Down syndrome case for every 800 births. – Bernama

Wujudkan sekolah khas bersepadu

29 Ogos 2012, Rabu

http://www.utusan.com.my/utusan/Sabah_&_Sarawak/20120829/wb_01/Wujudkan-sekolah-khas-bersepadu

Oleh FARHANA JONI
utusansarawak@utusan.com.my
KUCHING 28 Ogos – Kerajaan perlu mewujudkan sekolah pendidikan khas bersepadu di setiap bahagian utama negeri ini bagi membolehkan pelajar istimewa mendapat pendidikan lebih sempurna.

Presiden Kesatuan Guru Sarawak (STU), William Ghani Bina berkata, infrastruktur dan tenaga pengajar di sekolah pendidikan khas Batu Lintang dan Stampin yang masih tidak mencukupi juga perlu diatasi.

Katanya, sekolah pendidikan khas di Kota Samarahan pula terletak agak jauh dan menyukarkan ibu bapa untuk menghantar anak-anak mereka ke sekolah.

“Sarawak memerlukan lebih daripada satu sekolah pendidikan khas bagi menampung bilangan pelajar istimewa kerana mereka juga berhak mendapat pendidikan yang sama seperti pelajar biasa lain.

“STU juga mendapati ramai ibu bapa yang tidak menghantar anak-anak mereka ke sekolah pendidikan khas kerana masih tidak mengetahui mengenai kemudahan tersebut,” katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian di majlis penutup Persidangan Delegasi STU ke -21 di sini semalam.

Sebanyak 10 resolusi telah dicapai melalui persidangan tersebut dan ia akan dikemukakan kepada kerajaan dalam tempoh terdekat.

Antara resolusi-resolusi tersebut ialah memulakan pendidikan vokasional seawal tingkatan satu, menghalang pelajar daripada menggunakan telefon bimbit di sekolah dan melatih lebih ramai tenaga pengajar pendidikan khas.

Dalam perkembangan lain, William Ghani berkata, ahli-ahli STU perlu menjalin hubungan yang rapat dengan masyarakat bagi mewujudkan budaya positif di sekolah.

Katanya, Persatuan Ibu Bapa dan Guru (PIBG) juga perlu memainkan peranan dalam usaha membantu guru-guru tanpa perlu campur tangan dalam urusan pentadbiran sekolah.

Establish separate schools for special needs children — STU

Posted on August 27, 2012, Monday
by Lim How Pim, reporters@theborneopost.com.

WELL DONE: Ghani (second left) handing over a cheque and certificate of appreciation to Tan Kuang Wui of Sibu.
KUCHING: Sarawak Teachers’ Union (STU) is calling on the government to build schools for special needs children in major divisions of the state instead of incorporating them in integrated schools.
In putting up the proposal, its president William Ghani Bina cited the lack of adequate facilities and unsuitability of present integrated schools such as SMK Datuk Patinggi Abdul Kapor and SMK Batu Lintang here in providing education to the children, who need special care.
“Besides, we urge the Ministry of Education to train enough teachers for students with special needs,” he told a news conference after closing the union’s 21st biennial delegates’ conference at Wisma STU here yesterday.
An exco-member of STU, who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed that the government had pledged a separate facility near SMK Datuk Patinggi Abdul Kapor here for special children.
According to her, the promise was made some five or so years ago but had remained unfulfilled ever since.
“We are usually not permitted to touch on any of it, so I hope you (journalists) understand. We do follow up on the promise, but there is yet any good news.”
She added that 16 teachers with special education background were attending to 63 students in the school.
Earlier, Ghani also urged STU members to sharpen their teaching skills so as to better guide students.
“We must look at the needs of developing ourselves to be good teachers.”
At the closing ceremony, he presented incentives and certificates of appreciation to Sibu and Mukah branches for recording the highest number and percentage of recruitment.

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Pelajar OKU jalani kursus kemahiran

23 Julai 2012, Isnin

http://www.utusan.com.my/info.asp?y=2012&dt=0723&pub=Utusan_Malaysia&sec=Pendidikan&pg=pe_05.htm

SERAMAI 12 pelajar istimewa yang mengikuti Program Transisi untuk Murid Pendidikan Khas Integrasi (PPKI) Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Jalan Reko, Kajang menyertai kursus kemahiran Sulaman Riben anjuran Kolej Komuniti Hulu Langat baru-baru ini.

Kursus yang berlangsung selama dua hari dikendalikan oleh tenaga pengajar Kolej Komuniti Hulu Langat, Helma Mohd. Ali dan turut dibantu dua guru dari SMK Jalan Reko bermula pukul 8.30 pagi hingga 12.30 tengahari.

Pelajar didedahkan dengan 10 teknik asas sulaman asas dalam menghasilkan sulaman riben.

Usaha tersebut bukan sahaja membantu pelajar terlibat memperolehi kemahiran asas untuk diadaptasikan dalam kehidupan harian malah turut sama membantu mereka membina keyakinan diri melalui penglibatan latihan asas yang disediakan.

Kursus kemahiran Sulaman Riben yang diadakan dengan kerjasama Kolej Komuniti Hulu Langat itu merupakan sebahagian objektif penubuhan Kelas Pendidikan Khas yang membolehkan golongan terbabit menikmati alam persekolahan seperti rakan sebaya lain.

Kerjasama Kolej Komuniti Hulu langat menganjurkan kursus seperti itu membuktikan komitmen dan kerjasama pihak luar khususnya swasta dalam membantu meningkatkan kemudahan pendidikan berkualiti untuk golongan istimewa.

Special children can lead an independent life

Wednesday July 18, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/7/18/sarawak/11680518&sec=sarawak

By SHARON LING
sharonling@thestar.com.my

Quality help: Children geeting ready to throw balls through a hoop during Perkata Special School’s sports day recently.

KUCHING: It is not impossible for children with intellectual disabilities to attend school and learn the necessary skills to help them lead an independent life.

This is the goal at the Perkata Special School, which believes that each child has potential, and aims to help them develop various skills according to their ability.

Located at Jalan Ong Tiang Swee here, the school is run by the Sarawak Association for the Welfare of Intellec-tually Disabled Children (Perkata).

It currently has 136 children aged four to 17 in nine classes, with a maximum of 17 students per class, and a staff of 30 people.

“Our school is for children with various intellectual disabilities such as Down Syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy. The children are taught according to their ability and every child has her own individual learning plan,” principal Doreen Tie said.

The school uses a specially-designed curriculum covering language development, cognitive development, fine and gross motor skills, social skills and independent living skills. Children are also taught to read and write.

Under language development, for instance, they start by copying sounds and words to making sentences, understanding instructions and making conversation.

Cognitive development skills include learning to think and make decisions; recognising colours, shapes and sizes; identifying similar objects; and number work, including counting and telling the time.

Fine motor skills are about training the children’s hands to do what their eyes can see, like picking up small objects, building tower blocks and colouring; while gross motor skills are about balance and coordination.

Independent living skills include eating and drinking without help and getting dressed, shopping and preparing a simple meal.

“We have meal preparation sessions in the kitchen. We take some children out to the market to buy vegetables. Back in the kitchen, some children will wash and cut the vegetables while some will learn to cook. Others will learn how to identify the vegetables,” Tie said.

She said the teachers used task analysis for these skills, by breaking down each task into simple steps and teaching the children step by step.

For example, before the children are taught how to do up buttons on their clothes, they are first taught the concept of putting an object through a slit in the lid of a tin. Then they are taught to practise doing up buttons on a board before proceeding to perform the task on their clothes.

Tie said the curriculum also included reading lessons, computer classes and sensory activities to stimulate their senses.

“Our aim is to teach the children to be as independent as possible. We see the potential of each child and try to develop this potential to its fullest,” she said.

She added that sports was another part of the curriculum, with various activities designed for the development of gross and fine motor skills as well as cognitive skills.

The school organises an annual sports day and other events such as a “play day” for the children to play games and annual concert.

It also takes the children on educational trips to places like the airport, fire station, university campus and Semenggoh Wildlife Centre. Children also have the opportunity to go bowling or play futsal and badminton.

The school’s facilities include a book library, toy library, small playground and multi-purpose hall.

It welcomes visitors and volunteers who would like to offer their help or expertise. According to Tie, one outcome of the visits is a change in perception towards intellectually-disabled children.

”Sometimes people think that the-se children don’t know anything and that they cannot learn. Others who are not aware about intellectual disabilities feel scared of the children.

”But after coming here and seeing the children, they learn to value them as another human being, someone who can be your friend. So it’s a mind-changing experience for a lot of our visitors,” she said.

She added that there was now greater public awareness about intellectual disabilities. Parents with disabled children were less shy about them compared to the past.

”People are more open and they’re bringing their children for enrolment in the school.”

For the future, Tie said the school would like to have a full-time speech therapist and to carry out maintenance work on the building.

”We’re hoping to have our own speech therapist so that we can do more for the children. We also want to make sure that our facilities are always up-to-date.”

Besides the school, Perkata also runs a gallery to generate income for the school, which needs over RM700,000 a year.

The gallery, which is located in the school premises, offers various souvenirs for sale, such as postcards and key chains.

It also sells Perkata’s own range of T-shirts and recycled greeting cards made from cards donated by people from around the world.

Cabaran ibu anak autisme

15 Julai 2012, Ahad

http://www.utusan.com.my/info.asp?y=2012&dt=0715&pub=Utusan_Malaysia&sec=Keluarga&pg=ke_02.htm
Oleh RAJA INTAN DIANNA RAJA AZAHAM
dianna.azaham@utusan.com.my
Foto AZMAN ASMAYATIM

HIDAYATI bersama anaknya, Hafiz Izzuddin yang menghidap autisme ketika ditemui di Persatuan Kebangsaan Autisme Malaysia (NASOM) di sini, baru-baru ini.

HEBATNYA kesabaran dan ketabahan pasangan ibu bapa dalam membesarkan seorang anak yang mengalami kecacatan neurologi seperti autisme.

Membesarkan mereka bukan perkara mudah apa lagi dalam menyediakan mereka untuk serasi menerima dunia luar yang dianggap ‘merbahaya’ buat mereka.

Lagi hebat tahap kekuatan jiwanya apabila menguruskan bukan seorang, tetapi dua orang anak yang disahkan sebagai autisme sejak dari kecil lagi.

Berat mata memandang, berat lagi bahu yang memikul. Bukan calang-calang orang dapat berdepan dengan dugaan dunia sedemikian.

Namun atas kesabaran itu jugalah Hidayati Basri, 45, bersama suami berjaya membesarkan kedua-dua orang anak lelakinya itu sehingga mampu untuk memasuki ke sekolah biasa malah cemerlang dalam pelajaran mereka.

Anak pertamanya, Khairul Hazim Zainudin kini berada di Tingkatan Empat manakala Hafiz Izuddin berusia 12 tahun dan kedua-duanya disahkan menghidap autisme iaitu sindrom Asperger sejak kecil.

Tidak keterlaluan menyatakan anak-anak Hidayati ini cemerlang di alam persekolahan di sebalik kekurangan mereka apabila Haziq berjaya mendapat 6A dan 2B manakala si adik turut membanggakan keluarga dengan keputusan peperiksaan yang memberangsangkan.

Cerita Hidayati, sukar menggambarkan perasaannya di saat awal dia disahkan doktor yang sesuatu tidak kena dengan anaknya itu.

Akuinya, dia tidaklah setabah mana pada awalnya. Pernah dia mempersoalkan diri apa silapnya sehingga diduga sebegitu.

“Saya perasan Hazim tidak sama seperti anak orang lain apabila dia lambat berjalan dan bercakap malah lebih gemar bermain bersendirian ketika kecil.

“Hati ibu mana yang tidak celaru bila anak kecilnya disahkan doktor tidak seperti kanak-kanak lain lalu saya mula mempersoal diri saya mungkin ada silap yang saya lakukan sepanjang mengandungkan dia.

“Namun kemudian saya mula terima keadaan dia dan apa yang saya lakukan salah. Bukan punca yang perlu dicari tetapi sebagai ibu bapa kita perlu mencari jalan membantu anak kita.

“Sewaktu Hazim disahkan autisme, kesedaran tentang keadaan tersebut amat kurang dan susah mendapatkan maklumat berbanding sekarang,” ceritanya ketika ditemui di Persatuan Kebangsaan Autism Malaysia (NASOM) di sini, baru-baru ini.

Sambung, Hidayati, antara cabaran yang dihadapinya ialah dalam berdepan dengan tanggapan masyarakat seperti dari jiran dan keluarganya.

Bagi mereka yang tidak tahu, mereka akan menyalahkan dirinya konon tidak pandai menjaga anaknya apabila mereka menangis atau menjerit secara tiba-tiba.

Malah, mendapatkan pendidikan yang baik untuk anak mereka turut menjadi masalah. Anak-anak Hidayati tidak mempunyai masalah pelajaran, cuma skil sosial yang kurang.

Pernah memasukkan anaknya ke dalam kepas pendidikan khas, jelas Hidayati, guru kelas tersebut ketika itu kurang pendedahan bagaimana untuk menguruskan kanak-kanak autisme berbanding sindrom Down.

Mereka lebih memahami sesuatu subjek dengan bantuan visual.

“Kanak-kanak autisme ini berbeza. Ada yang sangat aktif, ada yang sangat sensitif kepadda persekitaran seperti bunyi bising, berbeza dengan sindrom Down.

“Kira-kira RM1,500 dikeluarkan untuk seorang bagi kos pembelajaran mereka iaitu kelas dan guru khas di NASOM serta tuisyen.

“Bukan berniat untuk memanjakan mereka tetapi mereka diberikan tuisyen khas secara berseorangan kerana tidak mampu fokus apabila ramai orang.

“Bayangkan apa yang ibu bapa perlu berdepan untuk memberikan yang terbaik buat anak-anak mereka.

“Saya berharap suatu hari nanti kerajaan dapat menyediakan sebuah sekolah khas seperti yang disediakan NASOM bagi meringankan beban ibu bapa yang kurang berkemampuan,” ujarnya.

Terangnya, kedua-dua anaknya merupakan sindrom Asperger dimana mereka nampak seperti kanak-kanak normal tetapi sebenarnya penghidap autisme.

Mereka dibenarkan menyertai persekolahan seperti kanak-kanak biasa tetapi perlu ditemani oleh seorang guru khas iaitu guru berdamping seperti yang disediakan oleh NASOM bagi menguruskan mereka terutamanya dalam membina skil sosial.

Guru berdamping diperlukan bagi memastikan tiada yang buli dan dalam masa yang sama bagi membina kesedaran pelajar-pelajar lain apa yang dihidapi mereka.

Kesedaran awalCerita Hidayati, ibu bapa zaman sekarang lebih beruntung kerana pelbagai maklumat boleh didapati berkaitan autisme terutamanya sindrom Asperger.

Apa yang penting katanya, ibu bapa perlu peka dengan tumbesaran anak mereka. Pelbagai tanda awal boleh dikesan jika anak mereka menghidapi autisme.

Antaranya ialah kanak-kanak tersebut tidak suka memandang kembali ke arah mata, tidak suka memberi respons bila dipanggil, tidak suka bergaul dengan kanak-kanak lain dan adakalanya mereka boleh menjadi hiperaktif.

“Perkara pertama yang perlu dilakukan ialah terima keadaan anak mereka dan cari bantuan yang diperlukan.

“Apa yang penting campur tangan awal perlu dilakukan. Segera rujuk kepada yang pakar jika anak-anak anda berdepan dengan masalah tersebut.

“Enam tahun pertama merupakan saat yang genting. ibu bapa perlu tabah demi memberikan yang terbaik buat anak-anak mereka.

“Jangan malu dengan keadaan anak anda. Cari bantuan untuk berkongsi perasaan seperti menyertai Facebook Autisme Malaysia dimana mereka semua amat membantu.

“Apabila pakar telah mengesahkan keadaan kanak-kanak tersebut, segera mendaftar OKU dengan kerajaan untuk statistik kerana dari situ baru kerajaan dapat melihat realiti ramainya kanak-kanak yang berdepan dengan masalah autistik,” ujarnya yang sentiasa optimis dengan hidupnya.