GEORGE TOWN: Her love for students with special needs has kept Katijah Bakar going for the past three decades.
The long-serving principal of Special Children’s Centre Penang said one should have patience, understanding and knowledge to care for such children.
“My ambition was to become a teacher from the time I was in school.
“I love working with special children and I want to help them. I cannot help them as much but at least, I can do the best for them,” she said at the centre in Jalan Grove here.
Katijah, who has been at the centre since 1984, served as a teacher for about nine years before handling physiotherapy for two years.
In 1995, she was promoted to principal.
Back in 1984, the centre, previously known as Handicapped Children’s Centre, had 15 students in one class, Katijah recalled.
She was assisted by another teacher, who is also a disabled.
Today, the centre has 57 students aged between four and 19 in five classes, and 10 teachers.
“Most of the students here have Down syndrome. Lately, I also get a lot of students with autism.
“Our focus is more on functional academics, which stresses on teaching them basic survival skills to handle day-to-day tasks on their own.
“We have five classes, comprising early intervention, behavioral modification class, primary class and two secondary classes,” she said.
Katijah feels that people should be aware of special children’s needs.
“You have to be genuine if you want to help these children,” she said.
Katijah said the centre would be organising a food fair on Aug 20 from 9am to 3pm.
A total of 10,000 coupon booklets, priced at RM20 each, are for sale.
For details, call Katijah at 016-470 5895 or the centre at 04-828 2270 or e-mail email@example.com.