Forum raises awareness on children with special needs

By Nurin Nazifa

GOMBAK, 6 December 2021: The level of awareness towards the needs of children with disabilities in Malaysia is still low as they are often discriminated against and disregarded in many aspects of life including education and social interaction.

This view was shared by speakers in the forum titled “Raising a Miracle” held on Sunday (5 December), conducted by the IIUM Ibn Ummi Maktum Club (I-MaC) in collaboration with the Disability Services Unit IIUM (DSU), aimed at eradicating the negative stereotypes and stigma held towards people with special needs.

Participants of the forum

The speakers were Assoc. Prof. Dr. Aida Mokhtar from the Department of Communication, Dr. Wan Rohaida Wan Husain, a lecturer in Business Administration, Dr. Nor Azizan Che Embi, a lecturer in Finance, and Mr. Mohd Rashdan Baba, a library assistant.

They all shared their views and experiences in dealing with special needs children as they are part of the IIUM Special Parents Community.

Both Dr. Aida and Dr. Azizan shared that emotional support is most essential that family members can offer to help parents in dealing with raising a special needs child.

Moreover, the people around the child have to always be attentive towards the child’s needs as adequate and constant attention can help the child feel heard despite not being able to communicate their wants and needs clearly.

As Dr. Rohaida said: “The siblings of the special needs child also play an important role in making sure they communicate constantly and interact with the special child.”

“This will help the special child to feel included in the daily life of the family.”

Rohaida added that parents need to act immediately after knowing their child’s condition because early intervention can help the special child to learn social skills better while also contributing to the positive development of the child. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Rashdan emphasised the importance for universities to adhere to the Disability Inclusion Policy in higher educational institutions which was introduced by the Ministry of Education in 2019.

He said that by following the guidelines this would guarantee a sense of inclusiveness for children with special needs in terms of access to quality education, just like other students.

“Universities should provide extra devices to children with special needs to give them a better experience in learning,” Rashdan suggested.

Conducted live via Google Meet and attended by a total of 77 participants, the forum was held to educate and create awareness of inclusiveness among the audience by embracing those with special needs.

It was hosted by Norwahidah Faizal, a student of English for International Communication (ENCOM) from IIUM Pagoh. ***

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