KUCHING: Sarawak is in dire need of more speech and occupational therapists to meet the needs of early intervention and rehabilitation of children with special needs.
One-Stop Early Intervention Centre (OSEIC) Sarawak senior administrative officer Leandro McRae Mackinon said in the case of the centre, currently, there are not enough speech and occupational therapists for its students.
“The centre will be taking in more students by the end of the year, and hence, there is a need to have more speech and occupational therapists,” he told New Sarawak Tribune today.
Leandro said the reason for the lack of speech and occupational therapists from Sarawak was because there were fewer such courses at local universities here.
“Therefore, I hope more of the local universities could offer this course in the near future as the demand is there.
“At the same time, I also hope the locals here have the interest and have the spirit of wanting to take up this challenge to be a speech and occupational therapists to our children with special needs.”
Besides that, he said that there were also plans for OSEIC to be set up in Dalat and Miri, hence, this called for more special education teachers as well as speech and occupational therapists.
Earlier, Leandro attended the Sarawak OSEIC Advisory Committee Meeting chaired by Minister for Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development, Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.
OSEIC Sarawak was officiated on Oct 30, 2020 and as of today, a total of 339 students have been registered under the centre, while 82 are still on the waiting list.
Out of the 339 students, 111 of them are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 108 are speech delay.