Fatimah (centre) witnesses an exchange of document between Dr Saadiah (third left) and Chong.

SPECIAL NEEDS CENTRE

KUCHING: A One-Stop Early Intervention Centre (Oseic) for young children with an autism spectrum disorder, down syndrome and learning disability will be built following a contribution of RM4mil from Petronas to the state government. 

The centre will provide early diagnosis, intervention and rehabilitation for children up to six years old who have developmental delays or are at risk for delays.

The facility, to be built at Metrocity, Jalan Matang here will be equipped with a diagnostic centre, an early intervention centre, a pre-school, a play area, and a therapy centre.

According to Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah, Oseic would be able to provide a sustainable and high impact not only for children with special needs but also for their parents and community as a whole.

“We know that if the success rates for the rehabilitation programme for children with special needs are significantly higher when addressed at an early age.

“This is what Oseic is about. To provide early an early intervention,” Fatimah said in a press conference after witnessing the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement and Tenancy Agreement for Oseic at the Riverside Hotel here yesterday. 

She revealed that in the case of the severity of their disability reduced, Oseic would then recommend the children to enrol in mainstream schools alongside normal children.

“This is the way forward for them to be integrated with normal children. 

“They will learn and develop at a faster rate as well as to improve their social skills and socialise better,” she claimed. 

Additionally, resource centre to provide a support system for teachers who are handling children with disabilities will also be incorporated into Oseic. 

“The behaviour of disabled children is very challenging, so much so that people misunderstood them sometimes. They would blame the parents and teachers for their inability to discipline the child.

“There must be a support system provided by specialists to manage these challenging behaviours. In the case of a teacher requiring assistance handle an undiagnosed special need child, the resource centre would then dispatch an expert to help that particular teacher to handle the special need child,” she explained.

Also present was Assistant Minister of Women, Family and Childhood Development Rosey Yunus, Assistant Minister of Community Wellbeing Datuk Francis Harden Hollis, the ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Saadiah Abdul Samat, Sarawak Social Welfare Department acting director Joni Nuruddin, Petronas Sarawak general manager Zulaihi Mohad Mantali, Pibakat president Zaidi Ahmad and Chong Kia Hoi Realty managing director Datuk Chong Hia Koi.