Saturday, June 21, 2008

Looking beyond disability

Saya terpanggil untuk berkongsi isi hati penulis ini di sini. Secara tidak langsung, kita patut menilai tahap keprihatinan kita terhadap mereka yang kurang bernasib baik ini.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Persons with learning disabilities often experience life within their own group, segregated from mainstream society. However, opportunities for meaningful interaction with their non-disabled peers can bring invaluable insights for both parties, writes M.L. WONG

MALAYSIANS are well-known for their caring nature, often donating generously to worthwhile charitable causes. However, people with disabilities desire more than such financial support – they want our empathy, not just sympathy.

As the parent of a special needs child and a frequent chaperon for groups of people with disabilities when they organise trips into the community, I have often observed the way onlookers react to such presence in their midst.

On seeing a person with disabilities, they often display expressions varying from shock, surprise, discomfort, wariness, to curiosity and friendliness. However, their reaction, whatever it may be, is always laced with an underlying expression of pity.

As an observer, I have often wondered: do they really see the individual behind the disability?

From my personal experience, I would say most onlookers can't. They often chose to ignore the person with disabilities by talking over him, addressing simple personal questions about his name or age, to the chaperon instead.

Recently, 86 students majoring in Convention & Events Management from Sunway University College's School of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Management (SHTLM) were given the experience of partnering 16 intellectually challenged teens from the Special Education Class of SMK Bandar Sunway, in various organised activities.

The SHTLM students were required to organise a fund-raising event as part of their course work, so such assignments were nothing new to them. The main challenge this time around was that the students were asked to work with their special needs peers, instead of just handling over a cheque at the end of the event.

I saw it as a good opportunity to put a face to learning disabilities for the college students, many of whom admitted they had never been in such close proximity with learning disabled individuals.

As expected, there was an initial period of adjustment. Some of the college students obviously didn't know how to manage their special buddies, treating them as if they were made of brittle glass. But by the end of the event, they had gelled as a group. And with all the teens wearing the same t-shirts, it became quite difficult to separate the two groups at first glance.

SHTLM student Daniel Lee Wei Ren, who was the project manager of the event, said that his group had participated with an open mind and discovered the intellectually challenged teens to be no different from them.

“For most of us, this is the first time we are working with people with special needs,” said Lee. “We didn't know what to expect initially, but found out eventually that we are very much alike.”

Another SHTLM student, Clarise Ching Yuen Ying, who was on the main organising committee admitted that initially they were a bit apprehensive as to how the special teens would react.

“We were surprised when we met them. They are classified as intellectually challenged but they don't really appear like they are having any disabilities at all,” said Ching.

Ching added that the special teens were so enthusiastic about the whole event. “Actually, they created the excitement and motivation for us to see the project through.”

Changing public perception of people with disabilities requires a paradigm shift in mindset that cannot be achieved overnight.

However, it is up to all of us involved with disabilities issues, whether parents, educationists, supporters or people with disabilities themselves, to be proactive agents of change in restoring individualism to people with disabilities.

Administrative-wise, we conveniently label people with disabilities, particularly learning disabled individuals, whether for classification and/or budgetary reasons.

When we pigeon-hole them into categories of disorders or conditions, we risk not looking at the individuals behind the label.

One parent commented that when his son was sitting for a public examination, he became really upset when he noticed the standardised examination paper came with an extra label – “calon istimewa”. It tags him as a special needs or disabled candidate.

For this young gentleman, who has grown up in inclusive education, and guided from young to be an active participant of his community, that extra tag made him feel that he had been unfairly judged and found wanting.

He expressed his fears that he would be adversely measured or even discriminated against by potential employers, even though he achieved 2As and 3Bs in that public examination.

When it comes to labelling people with disabilities, I am often reminded of this incident when a boy with Down syndrome looked at his social welfare card and said: “I am not terencat akal (mentally retarded), I am just Down Syndrome.”

I remember thinking that this individual has accepted his condition, in the same way, as someone who has diabetes, hypertension or cardiovascular disease. He has come to terms with the fact that he has to live with his Down syndrome and its related issues. However, he is not willing to be tagged and labelled as less than his peers.

One Voice is a monthly column which serves as a platform for professionals, parents and careproviders of children with learning difficulties. Feedback on the column can be sent to For enquiries of services and support groups, please call Malaysian Care ( 03 90582102) or Dignity & Services ( 03-7725-5569).

Dipetik dari:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Punya anak istimewa

Ramai yang bertanya saya bagaimana menjaga seorang anak istimewa.
Bukan diminta, bukan diharap, tetapi begitulah sudah ketentuan tuhan. Apa yang kita mampu lakukan ialah menanganinya dengan bijak.

1. Terimalah seadanya - peringkat pertama dalam menangani isu anak istimewa adalah penerimaan. Sebagai ibu dan bapa, anak istimewa adalah ujian dari Allah. Semasa kecil digelar anak istimewa, bila sudah dewasa dia akan digelar OKU. Terimalah hakikat bahawa anak kita itu perlu penjagaan dan cara didikan yang 'sedikit berbeza' dari anak-anak yang normal.

Ada sesetengah ibubapa yang takut untuk menerima kenyataan ini. Mungkin takut dikatakan mempunyai anak yang cacat atau terencat akal. Ketakutan itu akan melembapkan tindakan kita untuk membetulkan dan merawat keadaan si anak. Akibatnya anak istimewa dipinggirkan, didera dan ada juga yang dikurung.

Penerimaan ibubapa juga akan membantu perkembangan si anak lebih berkesan. Apabila ibubapa menerima keadaan anak istimewanya, rancangan penjagaan dan pendidikannya menjadi lebih mudah. Di sinilah penyertaan ibubapa amat diperlukan. Si anak akan tersenyum gembira jika ibubapanya sendiri meluangkan masa untuk bersamanya dalam setiap aktivitinya. Ini sangat baik untuk perkembangan emosi si anak.

2. Jangan menyalahkan diri sendiri - percayalah bahawa setiap yang berlaku adalah kuasa Tuhan. Jangan meletakkan kesalahan lahirnya anak istimewa ke atas diri kita sendiri. Maafkanlah diri sendiri dulu atas apa juga kesilapan masa lampau. Mungkin itulah hikmahnya dikurniakan seorang anak istimewa, agar kita dapat memperbaiki diri.

Cari ruang masa untuk diri sendiri dan lakukan aktiviti yang membahagiakan diri. Isikan masa untuk melakukan hobi kegemaran.

Kita juga patut bersedia untuk menghadapi cabaran baru setelah mempunyai anak istimewa. Jadual kerja dan cara hidup keseluruhannya mungkin perlu diubah bagi menyesuaikan dengan keadaan anak istimewa itu.

3. Sabar dan istiqamah - setiap perubahan itu bukan datang mendadak. Kesabaran amatlah penting dalam menguruskan anak istimewa.

Jangan pula terlalu mengharapkan anak istimewa kita mencapai yang terbagus dalam apa juga yang dilakukannya. Setiap peningkatan walaupun sedikit hendaklah diraikan bersama ahli keluarga. Oleh itu, si anak akan merasa bangga dengan apa yang dapat dilakukannya. Ini akan menambah keyakinan dirinya.

Apa yang penting adalah keikhlasan dalam melakukan setiap yang baik itu secara konsisten, lama kelamaan pasti nampak hasilnya.

4. Tambahkan ilmu - dapatkan pendapat dari beberapa orang pakar kanak-kanak untuk memastikan masalah sebenar anak kita itu.

Selain itu, kemudahan hari ini memungkinkan kita untuk menambah ilmu dengan mudah. Cari sebab berkaitan dengan anak istimewa kita di internet. Lihat sama ada wujud teknologi canggih untuk merawat masalah berkenaan. Bagaimana keadaan hidup anak istimewa sebegini di negara lain - sistem pendidikannya, perkhidmatan kesihatannya dan lain-lain lagi.

Sertai juga forum atau 'e-group' yang memberi sokongan kepada anak-anak istimewa. Ia amat membantu dalam mencari pakar terapi dan mendapatkan sokongan moral dari mereka yang menghadapi masalah yang sama.

5. Sentiasa bersemangat tinggi - fikir secara positif dan lihat dari kacamata yang positif. Pastikan kita mendapat makanan berkhasiat dan lakukan senaman setiap harian. Lakukan aktiviti harian mengikut aturan. Jangan suka berlengah dan membuang masa (contohnya menonton TV, tidur).

Saya harap tip-tip di atas dapat membantu. Jumpa lagi di lain masa.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Institut Nury

Di sini diperturunkan sedikit maklumat tentang Institut Nury yang diasaskan oleh Dato' Dr Noor Laily binti Dato' Abu Bakar.

Institut Pembangunan Keluarga Dan Kanak-Kanak NURY ditubuhkan pada tahun 1984 bertujuan untuk memberi pendidikan kepada ibubapa dalam membentuk anak-anak yang cemerlang. Institut ini sudah melatih ribuan ibubapa, bakal-bakal ibubapa dan pendidik di Malaysia dan Singapura.

Program yang diasas dari program Dr Glenn Doman dari Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential Philadelphia USA, memfokus dalam menjana kecemerlangan anak serta memulihkan anak istimewa. Program bersepadu ini merangkumi pembangunan bayi sejak dari dalam rahim ibu hinggalah anak itu besar.

Kursus yang disediakan amat sesuai untuk :
- Ibu bapa,
- Bakal ibu bapa,
- Pengusaha taska dan tadika, pusat asuhan,
- Jurulatih anak-anak istimewa,
- Guru-guru,
- Penjaga kepada anak-anak istimewa.
- Sesiapa sahaja yang berminat untuk mendalami ilmu dalam mendidik serta membentuk anak-anak yang cemerlang.

Secara peribadi, saya berpendapat program ini haruslah diwajibkan kepada semua bakal pengantin dan ibubapa. Ilmu yang dicurahkan amat berguna sepanjang hayat.

Apa yang menarik perhatian saya ialah tentang konsep "kecederaan otak". Otaklah yang membezakan makhluk yang bernama manusia dengan makhluk lain. Di situlah terletaknya pusat pembentukan kecemerlangan seseorang itu. Kajian oleh pakar-pakar pemikiran juga mengatakan bahawa 95% daripada kematangan otak bermula sejak enam tahun lagi.

Oleh kerana tahap kecederaan otak setiap orang adalah berbeza, program Nury menyediakan langkah-langkah untuk kita mengenalpasti kecederaan otak, melakukan pembaikan, merangsang, menyuburkan dan mengembangkan potensi otak itu sendiri.

Jangan berlengah lagi, pastikan anda faham fungsi otak.