Back in 2010, a mom called my staff, Atiqah and told she is desperately looking for help for her daughter. Atiqah gave her an appointment to see me.
On the day of appointment, she was early by two hours and patiently waiting for the appointment until her turn. At the door step, she was extremely polite asking permission to enter in and to sit. She looked very sad, Tears in her eyes. Her eyes with dark circles, looks like she has been crying for many days. I asked her for the reason she wants to meet me and she told me its all because of Maga her daughter. She said the school doesn’t want to accept Maga into the normal class as she is unable to speak, communicate, socialise and worse still she cant perform in educational activity. Maga’s mom mention the school wants to put Maga into the special needs school and she was asking me what to be done.
I started my research in Learning Disabilities and ADHD in 2009. Back then, this field was very new. There was not much experts in this field. Hardly I could find one clinical psychologist or educational psychologist who can explain about this condition. When I turn to pediatricians or medical doctor, they surrender by saying sorry we don’t have the knowldege in this field. I had a few students who was in this condition and I really need to do something to help them lead a normal life. This was the only thing in my mind at that moment.
Back then I was lecturing for Masters student in Knowledge Management at Asea-e University and in Computer Subjects in Monash University. I am also a Subject Matter Experts for Knowledge Management in Asea-E University. I would called myself as being the pioneer in the field of Knowledge Management as at that moment there was only two Universities which offered the Masters in Knowledge Management program which one of it was in Asea-e University and the other university is UITM. Book resources was limited as well as online resources. So, practically I have to do research to come up with the course contents. I was the subject matter experts for 8 subjects out of 12 subjects for the program. So, I would say it was a great opportunity given to me to explore into a new field. My educational background is in Masters of Computer Science (Specialised in Software Engineering) from University Malaya. I also have written Journal Paper for International Proceedings and also invited speaker.
My career starts in 2000 as a programmer and then being a Project Manager by the age of 25. After that I entered into education line as a lecturer in Taylors College (Taylor’s University), Nilai International University (lectured for Oxford Brooke University(UK) and LaTrobe University), TPM College and Monash University. I was a Subject Matter Expert for Al-Madinah University and Asia-e University.
With all the experience above and passion to help the kids with learning disabilities, I explored into this new line which is rather challenging but fulfilling when you see the changes in the kids. I started my reseach and I hired occupational therapist and speech pathologist in 2010 to support my work in helping this kids.
Back to Maga’s story, I told Maga’s mom that we need to do assessment first in order to see what is the problem and what need to be done in order to help her.
At that moment Maga’s physical age was 7 years. She can only repeat simple words. She don’t understand questions and she can’t answer. She only says a few words. Her movement was not that stable. Our assessment results shows that she is categorised under slow learner and her develoment age was 2 years at that point. Prior to that Maga has also undergone MRI test with a neurologist.
Maga is the only daughter for her parents. Maga’s parents are a middle class parents. Her dad works in ship as a technician. Her mom is a housewife. They just own an old Datsun car. Even though they had financial difficulty, it doesn’t stop them from supporting their daughter. The mom sacrificed a lot of things to support Maga. The things I like in them was they were very passionate in helping and supporting Maga and secondly they will follow all the advice given without a single question.
Looking at her assessment result, I suggested Maga’s mom to send her for EIP program in Golden Child Sped Services. She gone through an educational session and multidisciplinary therapy session with us. The school with the interference of the State Education Department has given a green light to her to take off 2 days from her school and attend the EIP sessions for 2 full days and 3 half days. At the beginning the school was giving some pressure to the mom to withdraw her from the normal school and to put her in special school. This may be due to that they don’t have expertise in the field and at the same time they don’t have the knowledge in handling this kid. As she is not that stable physically they was rather afraid that she might falls down and injures herself. They also afraid that other student may take advantage of her disability and might bully Maga.
Every time Maga’s mom faces difficulty she will be at our door step looking for solution. The advice given to her was fully followed and passed to her teachers as well to understand Maga better in school. Maga’s mom played a very important role in supporting each and every of our advice and suggestions apart from her being in our centre. Her school started to accept Maga after she was in standard 4. The school teachers started to see her progress in her education and they started to see changes in Maga academically and socially. Apart from the multidisciplinary therapy in GoldenChild and educational session in Globalink, I also suggested Maga’s mom to bring her for horse therapy and music lessons and the mom follows as per suggestion.
Maga gone through 6 years of therapy sessions and educational sessions with Globalink and GoldenChild without fail. She attends 5 day classes in a week. She never missed any of the class unless she is not well. Maga’s dad was working away in Ship. So Maga’s mom single handedly coping with her daughter.
In 2016 Maga’s dad lost his job in ship as he was retrenched. Maga’s mom almost wanted to quit her effort as she cant support Maga’s education and her therapy. After a serious consideration Globalink Training Sdn Bhd. had sponsored RM5220 for her multi-discipinary therapy and educational session in 2016, RM1200 each for 2015 and 2014. Globalink helped her to make sure she completes her UPSR and don’t want the effort put on her was just wasted. In 2016 Maga was 12 years physically and her development age was 11 years. She sat for UPSR and she got through the exam with 2B, 2C and 2D. Maga also won a gold medal in a public speaking competition. She was competing for below 15 years category.
To-date Maga is attending Form 1 in Secondary School. She is trying her level best to cope up with her studies. Her ambition is to be a dentist. Hope she will achieve her ambition.
I hope this true story will be an inspiration for other parents who is dealing with kids with learning disabilities. Nothing is impossible if you put the effort and energy into doing the things that will help your kids in achieving their potentials.