Parents Workshop: Understanding the developmental stages of children with special needs

SEGi College Kota Damansara’s Health, Safety and Nutrition (HSN) class conducted a forum on 16 July, with three children with special needs parents to educate SEGi students on the challenges of HSN aspects when raising special needs (in this case, down syndrome) children and to raise awareness on the expectation and how a teacher can help the children throughout their journey at school.

There are three types of down syndrome caused by genetic conditions related to a difference in chromosome setup – Trisomy 21, Mosaic Down Syndrome and Robertsonian Translocation (ROB).

According to these parents, it was around 10-14 years back when not many people were trained to educate down syndrome children, especially in Malaysia, and the acceptance of the society at that time made it harder for the parents with special needs children to support their children. The progress of special needs children must be taught step by step while normal kids can progress naturally. There are 3 types of frequent therapies that special needs children need to attend to help them develop their life and learning skills progress; speech, occupational therapy and physiotherapy.

For example, speech therapy can be started as early as 6 months old, where the children will begin with feeding therapy to strengthen their oral motor. For occupational and physiotherapy, they will be trained on how to crawl, walk and other expected life skills.

As for the health part, parents need to give attention to them where they need to teach them each of the steps from a kid. The next part that should be considered for special needs children is Safety, and it’s because they are not ordinary children born with strong Fine Motor skills.

One of the most challenging aspects for these parents is that the children are unaware of the danger of fire. At the same time, students understood that the other aspect these parents are concerned about is the nutrition the special needs children take. It is because some special needs children are not eating the same food as normal children, it causes some kids not to grow up strongly.

Figure 1: One of the parents is sharing on the health aspects where she emphasises on different food texture for her daughter with down syndrome.
It was an interactive learning session with the parents