Kuala Lumpur, 17 April 2017 – The importance of Early Childhood Education (ECE) as well as Special Needs Education is on the rise in Malaysia. Hence, the need for ECE practitioners to constantly upgrade themselves in knowledge and understanding of this sector is crucial especially when it comes to children with Special Needs. In addressing this, Kolej Dika organised a public awareness campaign called ‘Understanding, Connecting and Supporting Learners with Special Needs’ recently, aimed at practitioners, educators and parents in the Klang Valley. The campaign, which took place in March at Kolej Dika comprised of a forum and exhibition and attracted about 200 participants.

Organised by a group of students who are pursuing the Diploma in Special Education (Early Years) at Kolej Dika in Puchong, the idea was to create awareness on raising children with Special Needs. The objectives were to provide information to parents regarding Special Needs; to create awareness of the support and services for children with Special Needs and to educate parents of their role in raising children with Special Needs.

Speakers ranged from various backgrounds who provided their views and experiences dealing with children with Special Needs. The forum saw parents, Edmund Lim and Yap Sok Yee share their topic entitled ‘The Journey of Love. Turning Adversity into HOPE.’ The talk proved to be an emotional one for participants as the speakers shared personal and heartfelt experiences in their child with Special Needs. In 2011, their youngest son was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). They were told to be prepared for a challenging journey ahead as care and support for SMA was still in its early stages in Malaysia. Edmund and his wife encouraged providers to improve and support SMA care and support.

Lim Suan See from Malaysian Care shared her views on the topic of ‘Parents as Partners’ while Isabel Tan, a registered Music Therapist presented on the topic of ‘Therapy for Children with Special Needs.’ Lim touched on the partnership between parents and service providers, which is not always practiced although it is important. She said this could be due to inability to commit, time management and other factors. Her talk shared a few tried, tested, practical and doable approaches of how parents and service providers can work closely together to come to an agreement and chart a direction to help a child in his or her development.

Isabel Tan has an extended major in psychology and a minor in music as well as a Masters in Music Therapy from the University of Queensland, Australia. Proficient in various musical instruments including the piano and violin, she also has formal training in guitar, ukulele, drums and cello. Using music as a therapy she shared her experience working with children with disabilities both in Malaysia and Australia.

CEO of Kolej Dika, Pua Chee Ling was delighted with the support and participation attained by the campaign. “It is gratifying to see that Kolej Dika is playing an active role in creating awareness among parents and educators on children with Special Needs. In the recent years the inclusion of children with Special Needs has become an important agenda in many countries. Therefore, educational provision for special kids is imperative.”

“Many parents have expressed their interest to learn and understand children with Special Needs. We believe this campaign would have, to a certain extent successfully made them understand that children with Special Needs require support and that early detection and intervention is important. The earlier it is known, the better the outcome for the child. Educational forums are part of Dika’s yearly initiative. These exclusive forums provide Kolej Dika students with a platform to explore and understand the real world challenges faced teaching young kids. It provides ideas and solutions to inspire students to be better equipped when teaching in a classroom,” she added.

According to Mohan Dallumal, Senior Lecturer at Kolej Dika: “Overall, the outcome of the sharing session has been encouraging. We managed to engage participants from various backgrounds who were keen on understanding and learning more about the current trends, teaching methods and theoretical implications of Early Childhood and Special Needs Education.From here on, Kolej Dika will continue to bring current topics of interest to the public in order to change perceptions and blaze new trails as a thought leader in the industry.”

Today, more than 500 graduates have walked the doors of the institution that is specialised in the field of Special Education and Early Childhood Education. Kolej Dika is committed to training dedicated individuals for vocations in early childhood education and special education. Among the courses offered are the Diploma in Early Childhood Education, Diploma in Special Education (Early Years) and Executive Diploma in Early Childhood Education. For more information on the early childhood programmes offered at Kolej Dika, log on to www.kolejdika.edu.my

About Kolej Dika
Kolej Dika is one of the early pioneers of early childhood education in Malaysia offering a range of Early Childhood Education and Special Education academic programmes. It has set a benchmark in the industry for its quality early childhood education programmes recognised in Malaysia and abroad. The college places great importance on industry-based-learning (IBL) coupled with research and activity – intensive modules, producing highly employable graduates. The Diploma in Early Childhood Education, Diploma in Special Education (Early Years) and Executive Diploma in Early Childhood Education programmes are accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) and the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA). The Diploma programmes also provide a pathway for students to gain entry into local and overseas universities to pursue their degree and postgraduate programmes in a related field of their choice. Its diploma programmes are also recognised by the Public Services Department of Malaysia providing Kolej Dika students with the opportunity to work with the government. It is also recognized by Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), Singapore which allows graduates to gain teaching certification in Singapore. Kolej Dika is collaborating with international educational partners in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, United Kingdom and universities in Malaysia. Its graduates are successful in their own chosen field of early childhood education either as educators or professionals.

For more information, please contact:
Kamala Devi Thillainathan
On Behalf of Kolej Dika
E: tmmala13@gmail.com
H: 012-6600825