Covid-19: Impact on special needs group

Special needs students learn better in school. They can’t sit in front of the phone or computer for a long time. But when schools reopened, some children couldn’t attend because they didn’t want to wear masks. Parents need to learn how to do behaviour modification, and together with teachers, think of creative ways to make sure children use the masks. Superhero designs may excite them, for example. Deaf children look at the movement of their teachers’ mouths, so rather than using masks, teachers should be allowed to wear face shields. When remote learning is done, some students with low vision can’t see what’s on their phones or computers. They need support from their parents. We also have problems with students from special education vocational schools. For example, some study in Kedah but live in Kelantan. It’s especially hard for teachers to carry out competency tests with the students. But there are ways for teachers to be innovative. For example, at the start of the pandemic, the Melaka Education Department asked parents to pick up cooking ingredients. Teachers then had a video call where they carried out cooking lessons with their students. Teachers can also include children with special needs when livestreaming with mainstream students. That’s one thing schools can do to make sure all children are included. We want special needs students together with their peers if not for all classes, then during certain activities.

Education Ministry Special Education Division former director Prof Datuk Dr Yasmin Hussain

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