Engaging special needs pupils

Chong (second from right) showing Shekhar (right) the multisensory therapy classroom in SJK (C) Sungai Buloh. — AZMAN GHANI/The Star

CHILDREN with special needs will now be able to benefit from a multisensory therapy classroom, thanks to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International and the Education Ministry’s Integrated Special Education Programme (PPKI).

This year, eight schools under the PPKI primary schools are recipients of the Rotary Global Grant-sponsored multisensory therapy classrooms and training of 30 teachers for special needs pupils.“There are about 300,000 special needs students in Malaysia and the number is increasing.

“The Rotary Global Grant can provide the facilities and training for teachers in a one-and-a-half-day session for the schools involved.

“Under PPKI, our training will emphasise the multisensory aspects as well as how to use equipment and set up the programme, including getting parents involved.

“This will help special needs children adapt to the environment,” said Rotary Club Bandar Utama assistant governor and past president Judy Chong at the opening of a multisensory therapy classroom in SJK (C) Sungai Buloh in Kampung Baru Sungai Buloh, Selangor.

Special needs pupils who are slow learners, dyslexic, autistic and those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or Down syndrome can use the special classrooms for their overall brain and movement therapy.

The classrooms are available at SK Taman Maluri in Kuala Lumpur; SJK (C) Kampung Baru Ampang, SJK (C) Selayang Baru, SJK (C) Wah Lian (Sungai Pelek) and SJK (C) Sungai Buloh in Selangor; SJK (C) Shih Chung Pusat (Georgetown, Penang); as well as SK Dato’ Laksamana Raja Mahkota (Teluk Intan) and SJK (C) Min Te (Sitiawan) in Perak.

The project was made possible by Rotary Global Grant #2231898, The Rotary Foundation, Rotary Club Malaysia District 3300, Rotary Club Japan District 2560, international Rotary partner Rotary Club of Takada East, Japan, host Rotary Club of Bandar Utama, as well as local Rotary partners Rotary Club of Cheras and Rotary Club of Pudu in Kuala Lumpur; Rotary Club of Sitiawan and Rotary Club of Teluk Intan, Perak; and Rotary Club of Bukit Bendera, Penang.

Officiating the event at SJK (C) Sungai Buloh was Rotary International president Shekhar Mehta, who said that aside from the importance of creating awareness of special needs education, certain facilities had to be established in schools to make them more diverse and inclusive.

“This is where Rotary Clubs come in, and I am happy to launch the multisensory classroom at this school, which has over 1,000 pupils where 30 are in the special needs category.

“That means more than 900 pupils will learn to understand their peers who have special needs and be more sensitive towards them. Education should be inclusive,” he stressed.

SJK (C) Sungai Buloh board of governor chairman Datuk Lum Weng Keong said the multisensory classroom would provide a positive impact on the lives of special needs pupils and lessen parents’ burden.

The school’s headmistress Low Sau Kin said the multisensory room would greatly benefit special needs pupils as seeking such therapy privately would be costly.

Rotary Club Bandar Utama president Angeline Tong said this was their first Global Grant project and first for Rotary Club District 3300, which comprises 89 Rotary Clubs.

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