Special needs vocational school proposed

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah speaking during the special media conference at the Baitul Makmur II Building here on Thursday (Nov 5). Photo: Ummi Munirah

KUCHING: Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah hopes a vocational school for children with special needs will be developed in Sarawak to equip them with skills to generate income. 

The Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister pointed out that there were already schools for children with special needs.

“But how would their life be after completing Form 5?” she asked in a media conference here today.

“We believe in their abilities; we just have to provide them with the platform to develop their potential to the maximum,” she said.

By doing so, she said these children with special needs would be able to earn a living for themselves.

On Sarawak’s first One-Stop Early Intervention Centre (OSEIC) which provides services for special needs children aged seven and below, she said her ministry as its advisory board aimed to ensure that staff members were recruited not only for their specialised expertise but also for their commitment and passion.

“I am very glad to see that the staff members who have been recruited — such as the physiotherapist, occupational therapist, and support staff — are very committed” Fatimah said, emphasising that a high level of patience and love for children was also important.

She said the response to OSEIC thus far had been promising, with 31 special needs children — 27 boys and four girls — registered in its one month of operation.

Of these 31 children, 12 had autism, one had autism spectrum disorder, 15 with speech delay, two with global development delay, and one with sensory neural hearing loss.

“More may register in due time. The centre can accommodate about 100, if the enrolment goes over that, we will have to increase the number of staff members,” she said.

She hoped that similar centres would be developed in other divisions in the future.

Fatimah said that among the facilities provided in OSEIC were a diagnostic centre, Snoezelen room, sensory integration room, toy room, hydrotherapy room, among others.

The centre also provides a community disability support system which includes counselling services for parents of special needs children.