August 28, 2009

Special Education

It really is disheartening when you see bullied children in school. There are two big categories in here and my heart goes to these two categories. It really is sad when you think about it, especially when school is supposed to be the place where kids' potentials are explored. To actually take the responsibility to shape a person is big and I salute teachers because they are brave enough to take this responsibility; especially because children are Allah's trusts to us.

If teachers realized of how big their responsibility is, I'm sure they would be and are great teachers who nourish and flourish their students.

Therefore, it is really heartbreaking when the teachers themselves are involved in student bullying- be it physical, emotional or verbal; or when teachers closed their eyes on the bullying cases happening at school. Bullying is another issue that I don't understand the reasons behind it. Bullied person will end up either being a bully himself or it will make him or her inferior person; in which both are no good. And the fact that people hide behind phrases like "We could survived bullying back then, why can’t you now?" is just utter rubbish.

Where in any religion teaches bullying?

Back to the topic, when I said two big categories, it's referring to the normal kids and the special kids i.e. kids in special classes. With regards to special education in Malaysia, it is in my opinion that we are way behind compared to the other developed countries, or perhaps even compared to Singapore.

No doubt it is good that we have Special Education for these special children but there are more that needs to be done. When I mention special children they refer to LD (Learning Disability; known as Mental Retardation or MR before), CP (cerebral palsy), ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), Down's syndrome, Asperger's Syndrome, autistics, GDD (Global Developmental Delay), and many more. These children, they not only need special attention and special care, but they also need specially trained teachers to handle them.

Sadly in Malaysia, we are very behind in our knowledge on these children. What we have to understand is each and every one of these children is different. Each of them has their own abilities and weaknesses. And most of these children can't be dealt with punishment; and what I mean by punishment include hitting and yelling. Children like those with autism are very sensitive to yelling; it would set them off and yet many can’t understand it.

I guess it all comes back to the root- accepting these children. You know, for the parents to be blessed with these special children, they are among the strongest people I've met in the course of a few weeks spent in Child Psychiatry clinics. For us, we only see these children in the short hours in the clinics. And even in school, they are only there for half a day. But these parents are taking care of them for the rest of their life. Every parent wants to see their children soar high in the sky and with these children, even with these limitations, the least that they could hope is for them to be able to stand independently and live in the society.

And truth to be told, our society is NOT ready to accept these children yet- with the comments of 'leave them at home', 'don't bring them to the shopping centre' and what not. Do we realize that when we are not accepting these children, we are indirectly not accepting what Allah has given us?

The reason behind this article would always be the cases I've seen in the clinics. My heart breaks especially when a case of bullying came and the parents have to fight tooth and nail for the right of their child. Hearing comments like "they were advised to not to go to school" is just disheartening. Seeing how distress a child is when school is mentioned is heartbreaking. Seeing how a chid refuse to speak up the truth because of fear is saddening.

If this is to be translated as a painting, it's as though the existence of special education is just a cover-up. It's frustrating to see that sometimes when the higher up people have vision of having better education, it is not conducted well on the prosecution level. And when matters are highlighted, everyone is afraid to speak up or even speak the truth because of fear, pride and unwillingness to take the responsibilities.

These children deserve the same education and treatment as the other children. Sadly, we don’t see that because our eyes only see their 'flaws' when it is not even 'flaw' but gift.

These parents with gifted children, I have much respect. Some even go all the way to stop working to give their full attention in training these children to better equip them for real life. Some may even consider going overseas for better education. Some even risks their jobs to fight for their children's right.

Are we not touched?

Why don't we put ourselves in their shoes? What if God gives us these special children? Will we be able to love and nurture them? Will we know how hard it is to give them the education that they deserve? Can we even accept them and how they are?

There are a lot more issues if I were to write about children. But one thing for sure is how parents treat the children and their influence makes much difference. The same would go to the next levels- teachers, peers and the society.

The case today, if I were to talk about, I probably will end up with tears. And these tears would be tears of frustration. It instantly reminded me on a character’s fight for her adopted child who was a Down's Syndrome girl. It’s as though I'm seeing the storyline in real life; the parents will face a lot of challenges, prejudice and perhaps isolation. But if they don't make their voices heard, if they opt for the same as everyone else who choose to shut their mouth because they are afraid and ashamed, then forever will these children be ill-treated and mis-treated, behind all the pretence of the goods that are 'done' for them.

In the book called The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, the character fights not just for her child, but also for the future of the children who are like her child. This unselfishness is something that we should applaud them on.

You know, school is supposed to be a fun place for children to learn and explore different skills. When it’s becoming a place of restraint, we are actually limiting their potential.

Worse, what will be our answer to Him on the Day of the Judgement?

Now, in saying this, I'm not accusing teachers; I'm just saying that we need more specially trained teachers to teach these children because ideally for the special needs children, the ratio of teacher to children is 1 to 3 -5 students. Placing teachers without special train would also stres them out and hence it could lead to bullying like this.

August 8, 2009


The two kindest people I've ever met, husband and wife and both whose profession is noble,
We were helping them moving the few things left behind,
Tiredness was clearly shown, and we were worried.
For these two kindest people, I really pray that their life is blessed and happy till the end of days
Because even when we're no longer learning under them officially,
they still offer their humble hands, smiling and wanting

One of the many reasons prompting me to write this,
is 5x10
I believe it has made a few people I know cried
For me it's just simply nostalgic, memorable and full of love
The rythm is just simply beautiful
And the lyrics... they make me smile each time I read every word

When I was listening to it, I remember these 2 kind people among the many people that have made great impacts in my life.

For that, thank you~