We are thankful for the many blessings in 2012 and as we usher in year 2013, we hope to continue with our work in reaching out and helping our community. We started the year with a staff force of 11 teachers and helpers, with 19 EIP (Early Intervention Programme) students, 11 SAP (School Aged Programme) students and 6 YAP (Young Adults Programme) trainees.
This year, we would like to re-focus on our mission which is to make a difference in the lives of children with special needs and their families by providing learning opportunities that will enable them to achieve their full potential. These learning opportunities are designed to maximise the outcomes for these children and their families through creative, empowering and transforming activities.
Essentially, the focuses of our programmes are:
This programme caters to children aged 6 years and below with learning difficulties such as Autism, Down Syndrome, Hyperactivity (“ADHD”), Slow Learner etc. Each child is allocated to a one-to-one session with a teacher and they will also join in the group activities (ie playground, water play, gross motor activities etc) with their peers. The child will be accompanied by their main caregiver (ie parents, grandparents etc) throughout the whole session.
This programme caters to children aged 7 to 12 years old with learning difficulties, who have already been through our EIP. The aim of this programme is on school readiness to prepare/support them for/in formal schooling; thus, the setup for SAP is of a classroom setting.
The YAP was launched in June 2011, and it caters for young adults between aged 18 to 25 years old. Our aim is to enhance our trainees’ quality of life by supporting them to equip themselves with skills that will help them gain employment. Their day-to-day activities include car washing, preparing breakfast & lunch, up keeping of YAP area etc.
As these children continue to inspire us in every way of our life, we too hope to be able to serve them and their families better with our services. As an expression of God’s love, we fully embrace on our core values: Compassion, Acceptance, Integrity and Hope.
Have a Happy New Year 2013!
They may be children with some form of developmental disabilities but they are first and foremost children – typical of most children in many ways, enjoying fun time, loving to play, especially water! So the children and young adults were treated to a visit to a water theme park not too far away. What was so encouraging was to see staff, parents, children and young adults all playing together. Opportunities for social interaction, language and communication are a lot more spontaneous and effective than in a formal classroom setting.
Dental health clinics make their rounds to Wings Melaka on a regular basis. During these visits, the children’s teeth are checked, and parents are required to attend talks given by the dental officers. Parents and staff make the most of the opportunities to discuss issues of dental hygiene and the challenging task of getting their children to brush their teeth regularly.
For the young adults, going to a shopping centre like TESCO is not just a an exciting outing for the day; it provides numerous learning opportunities such as making choices, managing money, taking turns and queuing up. The goal ultimately is to move towards independent living skills.
Effective intervention must involve the family of the child with developmental delays. As Blackman (2002) reminds us, without involvement of the family, interventions are unlikely to be successful. Thus Wings Melaka holds regular family support group meetings and informal coffee sessions where parents and staff have ample opportunities to share information and provide mutual support. Such support for the family affirms the fundamental tenet that ‘families and homes are primary nurturing contexts (Odom & Wolery, 2003). It encourages parents to move away from a mind-set that regards a centre such as Wings Melaka as the only place where real learning takes place. Instead parents are challenged to assume primary responsibility for the education of their own child. This is an effective way of empowering our parents (Lim, 2006).
As always, I take this opportunity on behalf of the community at Wings Melaka to express our deep gratitude and appreciation for your invaluable partnership and support.
Two new staff have joined us on the administration front – Delia Kwong and Tan Seng Chin.
As for teaching staff, 3 others have joined us: Noorazah – in the Early Intervention Programme (EIP), and Teoh Leong Beng in the Young Adults Programme (YAP). The third teacher comes to us under special circumstances. Mr Akira Shiota is a Senior JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) Volunteer under the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) programme, with the approval of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) of the Prime Minister’s Department (Malaysia), and he will be attached to Wings Melaka for nearly two years. Noorazah comes from a banking and ICT background but was motivated to join Wings Melaka after helping a nephew who has ASD. Leong Beng is a trained psychiatric nurse and has a wealth of experience (including 18 years in the UK) in rehabilitation programmes for clients with emotional and behavioral disorders. He has taken on the challenge to help us in the YAP, working with young adults with Down Syndrome and ASD. Mr Shiota has expertise handling adolescents with ASD, having taught for many years in a Japanese High School for Special Needs Education.
We continue to focus on the 3 main phases of our work – the EIP (27 students), SAP (12students) and YAP (4 young adults). Inquiries about the programmes at Wings Melaka continue to come in, and there is still a wait-list for assessment and enrollment in the EIP because of insufficient staff.
We are deeply touched by the generosity of our donors, some of whom have chosen to remain anonymous. But we are aware that many of you have only come to know about us through our website or through GlobalGiving, and yet have chosen to support our work. I would like on behalf of the Board and Staff of Wings Melaka, to express my gratitude and appreciation for your invaluable partnership and support.
Jacqueline Lee is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout Southeast Asia. Her “Postcard” from the visit in Malaysia:
Children’s laughter, coloring time, puzzles, math worksheets, and outside exercise… the activities, sights, and sounds of school.
April 20 I visited Wings Melaka, but this “school” was different - this is a Center for Developmental Disabilities. The youth at this center are special needs, and the “teachers” and staff are dedicated professionals and parents working to provide learning opportunities to achieve the youth’s full potential. Upon arrival in Melaka, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, I was greeted by Executive Director, Dr. Boon Hock Lim, at the bus station.
Immediately we departed for Wings Melaka’s location to visit staff and experience the work of Wings first hand. I toured the facility, seeing all of the toys and resoouces available for parents and the youth. Their resource library was full of dvd’s, books, trainings, educational toys, and more. After I was able to observe and help out at Wings' School Age Programme observing the class and spending time with the kids. The teachers were committed, patient, and creative making sure each student was busy completing his and her activities for the day. Some of the students' favorite activites were coloring and some were puzzles.
At the end of the day, I sat in on the weekly Parent Support meeting (Coffee Session) where parents can share struggles, experiences, and questions to support each other raising children with special needs. Some of their children were autistic, some hyperactive, and some had very rare developmental diseases. The parents opened up and began to share their experiences both with Wings and their children for example when they found out their child had a form of developmental disability like Autism and then the process of finding the right support and education. All of the parents shared the improvements they have seen with their children after being at Wings. There were tears, laughter, and encouragement.
A unique aspect of Wings' program that inspired me was that at least 1 parent/guardian is required to attend sessiona and practice with their kids. This is because Boon Hock explained to me that the learning process only BEGINS at Wings, but in order to make progress it must be continued at home consistently. Wings Melaka is providing the tools and training for the youth and their families for a brighter future with options, possibilities, and hope when before it was a future full of questions and fear. Also, it was wonderful to see kids, staff, and parents from all backgrounds, languages and cultures – all seeking a better future for their children.
Greetings from UNESCO World Heritage City of Malacca! We are pleased to update you on our activities and programme for the first quarter of 2012.
We currently have 24 students enrolled on the EIP, 2 of whom are new. Another 12 are enrolled on the SAP. As at this point in writing, we are scheduled to assess 4 other children waiting to come in.
Apart from routine sessions conducted for the children, we encourage parents to engage their children in meaningful play activities, bearing in mind that ‘the amount of a service is not what’s important, because all the child’s learning occurs between sessions’ (McWilliam 2000, p. 19).
The children who come to Wings Melaka generally have language and communication difficulties. So we schedule many group activities to encourage social interaction. For example, birthday parties for the children (together with their parents) can be such fun too!
2 more young adults have joined us, making the total number of 5 in our YAP. The activities continue to promote the young adult’s sense of ownership over her/his programme, and to encourage her/his own input, choices and decision-making.
Three of our staff from Wings Melaka went on a working visit in March to the Northlight School and St Andrew’s Autism Centre in Singapore. The teachers were also briefed on the use of interactive white boards.
We are deeply grateful to our many volunteers who come in regularly to help us with our programme activities.
25th Feb 2012: The 1st Parents Support Group meeting was attended by 19 parents. Moms & Dads shared grief and laughter, encouraging each other in facing their personal challenges bringing up a child with special needs.
10th Jan 2012: ED Dr Lim spoke to the staff of a private hospital at a disability awareness seminar.
13th – 17th March 2012: As ED of Wings Melaka, Dr Lim represented the ASEAN Autism Network at the UNESCAP meeting in Bangkok. This was an important meeting working towards the finalisation of The Incheon Strategy which will launch us into the next decade of Make the Right Real for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific, 2013-2022.
16th – 18th March 2012: Wings Melaka set up at booth at a major shopping mall in the city to raise awareness about disability issues.
Once again I take this opportunity on behalf of the Board, Staff and Community of Wings Melaka, to express my thanks and gratitude to thank all our friends for their invaluable partnership and support.
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