Note: The following article is actually good for the disabled community as it raises very important questions about the professionalism of centres that claim to offer services for people with disabilities.
Thursday October 23, 2008
Parents defend learning centre
By TAN KARR WEI
A GROUP of parents, whose children have learning disabilities have hit out at remarks made by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) councillor Anthony Thanasayan.
During the last full board meeting, Thanasayan had announced that the council would act on a learning centre for children with disabilities for misuse of building.
He had visited the centre located in SS1, Petaling Jaya, and according to him, some of the children had only mild learning disabilities and should be going to a regular school.
He also commented that the teachers did not have experience working with the children and that the centre did not have the right facilities.
“We want to ask the councillors if they have looked after children with special needs. They may look normal but you don’t know when they would throw a tantrum.
“Of course, we would be happy if our child can get one-to-one attention from teachers but there are no facilities out there,” said Monique Goh, whose 23-year-old son still attends the centre.
Goh and about 10 other parents organised a press conference with the help of the Petaling Jaya Selangor Residents Association (APAC) to voice their support for the centre.
Asella Hew, 46, said that her 16-year-old dyslexic son Matthew Chan attended a regular primary school from Standard One to Six.
“Every year, I had to tell the teachers about his condition. However, with every passing year, his learning ability was still poor. When I started sending him to this centre, he got better. Now, he looks forward to attending school because he has friends that he can relate to,” said Hew.
She hoped that the authorities could look into their plight as there weren’t many resources.
According to Reverend Rudy Liu who runs the centre, they have tried applying to the Education Ministry but were advised to apply through the Welfare Depart-ment because there were students as old as 23 years old.
“The Welfare Department said we could operate as long as we can get approval from the fire and health departments and the MBPJ for our premises,” said Liu.
He said the fire and health departments had already given their approval.
“We are appealing to the MBPJ to look into our plight. If there’s something we’re not doing right, they should assist us. We’re not doing anything illegal. Our operation hours are only from 9am to 3pm,” said Liu.
According to APAC chairman Liew Wei Beng, MBPJ was concerned about the legality of the centre and whether it was accredited. “There are not many centres providing such facilities so the council could help to find an alternative place if they can’t legalise the place,” said Liew at the meeting.