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.
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