SANDAKAN: Seven-year-old pupils Izlan Ildhani Bin Ismail and Adven Christ Arthur Andrew started the special education integration program at Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Sungai Anib 3 here yesterday.
According to special education teacher Shirley Liew, both pupils were able to socialize with other senior pupils.
They were well behaved on this first day and teachers here hope they can cope with the learning session, she told The Borneo Post when met at the school yesterday.
From a survey, no parents were seen waiting outside the special education classroom unlike the ordinary classes for other Primary One pupils of SK Sungai Anib.
Shirley explained that special education teachers preferred pupils to attend classes without their parents or guardians accompanying them as it would teach these children with special needs to be independent.
The special education integration program or program pendidikan khas integrasi is created in ordinary schools at primary, secondary or vocational levels. Through this program, students with visual, hearing and learning disabilities are placed in semi-inclusive or partial segregation.
SK Sungai Anib 3 is one of the best schools in providing such education for children with special needs. It was established in 2008, starting with only three special pupils.
The school is managed by 12 dedicated teachers, accompanied by three assistants to educate 33 special pupils with various disabilities.
From the total, two are Primary One, six Primary Two, five Primary Three, four Primary Four, five Primary Five and three pupils in Primary 6. The other four pupils are under the hearing class.
Most of the students enrolled into this program were based on suggestions from hospitals, Welfare and Education Departments.
The classes are from 7.30am to 1.30pm every day. Children who attend this school are between the ages of seven to 12, comprising of those with autism, slow learning, down syndrome, mentally retarded, hearing and sight problems, and hyperactive children.
Shirley said teaching was formulated based on the children’s capabilities in adapting with their social environment.
We try our best to educate these special children by encouraging them to learn and be self-independent. Some of the children who were initially shy and had low self-esteem are now able to socialize better with other children, she said.
Every special education school has its own syllabus with approval from the Ministry of Education. However, SK Sungai Anib 3 is taking a different approach from some of the special education schools in Sandakan in educating these special children.
As for our school, we emphasize on behaviour management and self management apart from academic and co-curriculum activities.
It may be different from teaching these special pupils compared to normal pupils but their positive progress becomes an indescribable satisfaction for us, Shirley said, adding that these children should be given the same opportunity to learn like other normal children.
However, the responsibility of educating these special students should not solely be carried out by the teachers and the school, but most importantly, parents must work together in educating them.
Thus, the education in school served by the teachers will be continued by the parents at home as well.
Parents of special-need children in our school are very supportive, especially with any of our programs and with the collaboration received, it can increase the confidence and spirit of the special children as it gets special attention and instruction from all parties, she said.
Being a teacher to special children, we also have the responsibility to facilitate parents in sending their children to the hospital for medical examination, she added.
Among the activities to be held throughout this year are study tours, bowling therapy, trip to Kuala Lumpur, The Voice, camping, futsal, workshop with parents, spelling bee and action song contest and so forth.
These activities are designed to show that children with special needs will never be neglected in our national education policy.
“So I advise parents who have children with special needs to send their children to schools which will enable the children to gain knowledge and socialize with others,” Shirley added.