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.
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