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.
Since our last update in October, we have wrapped up one year and ushered in a new one.
Happy 2012 to all the friends and supporters of Wings Melaka out there!
In mid-November last year, we held our annual Thanksgiving & Graduation Party. The event, attended by some 100 family members and other guests, saw four children graduating from the School Age Programme (SAP).
Students from both the Early Intervention Programme (EIP) and the SAP staged an enjoyable programme of songs and story-telling as well as a charming fashion show for the guests. Our little ones certainly did their teachers proud, and the parents were busy snapping photos as each item was presented.
The Young Adults Programme (YAP) also launched its YAP Café successfully in early November 2011. It was closed over the December break but will re-open in February once the new students have settled in and will operate on two days a week.
Helping in the café will provide the students with effective pre-employment training to prepare them for work in the food industry. It will also allow them more opportunities to interact with new people and also meet up with old acquaintances, thus enhancing their social skills.
The school year started with three new students in the EIP. This brings the total enrolment to 26 for the EIP with another 11 children in the SAP. As is usual, the first couple of weeks have been particularly challenging for the teachers – the new children needed extra attention to ease into the programme while a number of the older ones also took some time to settle back into their class routine after the year-end break.
Over in the YAP section, there have been exciting developments. There are two new enrolments this year, which means Daniel Kan, our sole YAP student last year, now has two friends joining him for classes.
Apart from spending time on the more serious stuff such as functional maths and computer work under the ongoing education component as well as manners and money management under community skills, the trio have also been kept busy brushing up their independent living skills. They have not only worked hard learning to mop the floor and tend the garden properly but have also had fun in the kitchen putting together their own lunches.
It has been a promising start to 2012, so once again, a big “Thank you” for helping Wings Melaka in realising its mission to make a difference in the lives of the children and young people it serves.
And we would also like to wish our Chinese friends and supporters a truly blessed and happy Chinese New Year!
Greetings from Wings Melaka!
Over the past few months, there have been a host of activities in our centre, involving not just the children but also parents and staff.
Working with our children …
Classes for the children in the Early Intervention Programme (EIP) and School Age Programme (SAP) went on as usual, with the teachers doing their best to incorporate activities that met their students’ individual needs during the one-to-one sessions as well as others that were varied and fun during the group sessions.
In addition, the children went on outings in conjunction with the themes they were working on in September. The younger children in the EIP were looking at “Vegetables”, so their trip took them to the Jusco Supermarket to check out the fresh produce section. Meanwhile, the older ones in the SAP visited the Mahkota Medical Centre to learn a bit more about “Occupations”. During their time at the hospital, they got to meet not only doctors and nurses but also receptionists and even one of the resident chefs!
With young adults …
After over a decade of working with children, Wings Melaka finally launched its Young Adults Programme (YAP) in June with the husband-and-wife team comprising Richard Kan and Wilyn Chu as instructors and their son, Daniel, as its first student.
The programme is aimed at enhancing the overall quality of life of the students. In addition, it looks into enabling those who can acquire skills that will help them gain employment and move into independent/supported living. While the actual schedule of activities is adjusted depending on the needs of students, the curriculum covers the broad areas of Ongoing Education, Independent Living Skills, Social Skills, Community Skills, Recreation, Travel, Art & Craft and Employment.
With parents …
We have also created learning opportunities for the parents. In July, the regular bimonthly coffee session organised for parents developed into a long discussion about managing the child. They swapped stories about difficulties faced in handling their children and talked about strategies that work. Everyone present contributed actively to the exchange of views and ideas, and some even tried picking the teachers’ brains on what they should do under particular circumstances or when confronted with certain behaviours.
Given the parents’ concerns, it was appropriate that the topic addressed at the Parents Support Group meeting in August was Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). During the meeting, the teachers gave the parents an idea of how they could better understand why their children do what they do, and how the ABA approach could be used to reduce negative behaviours and reinforce new ones.
And with others out there
September and early October saw a round of professional development and sharing at the centre.
Speech pathologist and psychologist Dr Carl Parsons of Port Phillip Specialist School, Melbourne, and social worker Dr Judi Moyle of Monash University, Melbourne, conducted a two-day series of Developmental Disability Workshops in late September, with the former focusing on communication issues and the latter on behaviour management. Participants included parents, educators and service providers.
In the first week of October, Dr Parsons and Dr Moyle returned to Wings Melaka to conduct a four-day Autism Communication Camp for 17 Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (the National University of Malaysia) students training to be speech pathologists. Others involved were UKM lecturer Ms Yazmin A. Rusli and nine children and their families. The camp saw the students observing the children in their daily routines and working with the parents to introduce more effective strategies to help the little ones communicate better, both verbally and non-verbally.
Yes, we have covered a fair bit of ground in the past months but there is a lot more to do for our present and future students. Thank you for supporting our work and walking with us.
The Gateway Challenge has finally come to an end, and Wings Melaka has done rather well in the one-month contest – we received a total of £10,108 from 74 unique donors, which means we have the third highest collection. If you would like to see how Wings Melaka compares with other projects, please go to GlobalGiving UK’s Gateway Leaderboard at http://www.globalgiving.co.uk/leaderboards/gateway.
Wings Melaka could not have met the targets of the Challenge alone, so a big “Thank you” goes to each and every one of you who has helped get us this far!
You will be pleased to know that the results of the Challenge mean we have not only earned a permanent spot on the GlobalGiving UK website but have also qualified for a similar spot on the GlobalGiving US website. This will allow us exposure to an even larger donor network.
Do remember, however, that while the Challenge may have ended, our presence on the GlobalGiving UK website has just started. Please continue to tell people about Wings Melaka and our project page on the website – "Support Malaysian kids with learning disabilities" at http://www.globalgiving.co.uk/pr/8100/proj8043a.html.
It is our aim to build a strong online community of friends and supporters, and we certainly hope that you will find this partnership valuable and worthwhile.
Thank you once again for helping us help our children.
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