It does not only take a trained eye to identify children with special needs, but also a more concerned society.
And in efforts to raise greater awareness on children living with disabilities, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin organised an open clinic, namely ‘Friends with Special Needs and Community Event’ recently.
The event, which gathered more than 50 professionals from various disciplines, amongst all were psychiatrists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, dentists, and dieticians was aimed to serve as a platform for the public to seek professional opinions and diagnosis of their children’s conditions.
Co-organised by ShowMe Kids International Sdn Bhd, the two-day event, which was held at UniSZA’s Al Muktafi Billah Shah’s hall attracted more than 1,000 attendees.
Showme Kidz International chief executive offier Redzuan Abd Aziz said the open clinic concept was an eye opener as a lot of attendees, whom mostly were parents admitted their lack of knowledge on the conditions of their children despite receiving formal diagnosis.
“A lot of parents (who came) also seek for second opinions after their children were diagnosed with conditions like autism, dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some were still in denial and had to be convinced by the health experts on next intervention steps to be taken.
“It is good anyway that these parents realised the need to know more about their children’s conditions from experts and took efforts to come and listen to the latter in persons, rather than referring to unverified sources on the Internet,” he said.
Redzuan, who is also Sri Showme Private School principal said the event also received encouraging responses from health experts from Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia, Hospital Sultanah Nur Zahirah and Universiti Sains Malaysia who spared their time from their hectic schedules to offer expertise and support.
The main services provided were free counselling and therapy sessions to children with special needs.
There was also a booth set up by state welfare department to allow attendees to register their children for the Persons with Disabilities (OKU) card after receiving formal diagnosis of their conditions.
He also expressed his hopes that more universities would be willing to collaborate with private sectors and industries in the future in efforts to increase more awareness on children with special needs.
“Such a collaboration would allow for a better implementation as we complement one another in a lot of aspects. We come in contact with a lot of parents who are too busy to diagnose their children because they think the procedures involved are tedious. So, this open clinic, for example, would not give them any more rooms for excuses,” he added.