The Ministry of Education (MOE) has over the years been committed to providing the best education for children with special needs and works hard in raising awareness about the matter.
Among others, the ministry has introduced the Special Education Integrated Programme (SEIP) that allows students with special needs to be enrolled in regular primary or secondary schools according to their abilities.
Although the programme has been well-received by most parents, children may not have a clear understanding of what exactly is special needs, thus leading to issues like bullying at school. These facts can be disheartening to any parent with a special needs child.
Recent studies have shown that children who are differently abled are often bullied and teased from as young as four years old. Studies also show that children are less likely to play with a child with Down's syndrome at the playground or include them voluntarily in their play group.
Perhaps your child has dyslexia, or they struggle with ADHD. You are worried the teachers might not see the same potential in them and miss out on this wonderful person, on top of the fact that other children in the classroom would think less of them.
Or maybe you have a child with significant special needs that requires more attention, you are terrified if the government’s decision on inclusive special education in mainstream schools is the right programme for your child.
As parents, although you try to be a ray of sunshine to your kids and walk with your heads held high all the time, you cannot escape the feelings of anxiety and worry whether your child is adapting well, particularly at school.
SchoolAdvisor has gathered through reading and research from more experienced parents about their special needs children at school. These tips and sharing have seen most parents through their share of broken hearts when some kids call their child weird, or if the child was not invited to a party (again).
Here are some things that we think you should know:
Humility helps a parent come to terms with their children’s condition and seek the help they need to better cope with life. More often than not, parents live in denial over the fact that their child has special needs and this is detrimental to both the child and the parent. We don’t blame you. This is not an easy thing to accept.
As a parent, it can be difficult to hear someone else’s ‘advice’ or even agreeing to a professional’s opinion because you think you know your child best.
But according to a mother who has a daughter with ADHD, she has helped herself and her daughter more than a few times by listening to experienced parents express their opinion and knowledge, even when she did not agree at first.
Working with your child's teacher can help you keep track of their progress especially since students spend a lot of time in school. You will know first hand if your child has made a new friend or achieved a new milestone in academics.
Also, a good partnership helps teachers design an exclusive lesson plan that focuses on the child's ability rather than his disabilities. This way, the child will feel more included in the classroom and will be able to participate actively.
Photo via leafedu
When your child is going through a tough time in school or you are not sure if there is a particular type of food they shouldn’t be eating, there is nothing like being able to talk to another parent who has already been there. You can find these parents in your child’s class or on social media such as Facebook.
There are several support groups readily available with encouraging parents looking out for each other. Check out the Support Group with Special Needs Children, where members of the group are parents and direct caregivers of special needs children or young adults.
There is also Special Needs Educators of Malaysia, which you can interact with trained and experienced special needs teachers that are more than willing to reply to your questions.
Photo via LA Parent
Remember the safety briefings in an airplane that reminds you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping your children? That is how important it is that you take care of yourself too, alongside your children.
While you spend most of your time talking to teachers and other parents, taking your child to appointments or reading up books and articles about your child’s condition, don’t forget to allocate some time for yourself.
When you are constantly worrying about your child’s condition, it is only natural that you end up feeling overwhelmed that it decreases your energy to give the attention that your child needs.
Parents who have experienced taking care of special needs children collectively agree that you should schedule some me time for yourself. Booking yourself a spa treatment, going for a walk at the park or reading books that are unrelated to your child’s condition would greatly help to refresh your thoughts so you can function better and be present for your kids.
Photo by Elisabeth Wales on Unsplash
Click here to check out Schools for Special Needs Children in Malaysia