Malaysiakini News

A woman’s quest to help kids with learning disabilities

Humans of Kuala Lumpur  |  Published:  |  Modified:

More than 18,000 children in Malaysia are registered as having learning disabilities like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism and dyslexia, says the 2014 Children With Disabilities in Malaysia report by Unicef.

There are 28 national special education schools nationwide but only one primary school caters to children with such conditions.

Many parents have thus chosen to place children with learning disabilities in private schools run by NGOs and faith-based organisations.

The Unicef report also highlighted several issues with the Malaysian national special needs education programme, including a shortage of qualified teachers as well as the lack of a tailored curriculum for specific learning disabilities.

A woman speaks to Humans of Kuala Lumpur about her experiences as both a former student with ADHD and now a teacher for children with learning disabilities.

“I'm currently tutoring 14 students, some of whom have dyslexia, ADHD and autism. I teach them after class, and thankfully it pays all my bills.”

“I was a ADHD kid, and suffered from it. That time I was quite young and my school teachers never liked me because I was too active, and I gave them so much headaches because I was a troublesome kid.

“I didn't know I had this until I was studying Psychology and I discovered it by myself. I never went for treatment but it just fixed itself - maybe because I am active and outgoing with people.

“I'm not from a rich family and I don't want to burden my family, therefore I choose to work and pay my own school fees. It's not easy for me as currently I've to work, study and prepare for my project (the Asia Pacific Youth Exchange summer programme) which will be coming soon, in which I want to deal with education.

“I believe that education is everything as it relates with all of the Sustainable Development Goals under the United Nations, and everyone should have the right to study and have adequate education.

"Without education, they are not able to understand, work or change the world. And I will do my best to share my knowledge with other people, especially in the rural areas.”

This story was first published on the HUMANS OF KUALA LUMPUR Facebook page. In this photography project, Mushamir Mustafa takes pictures of random people in Kuala Lumpur, who tell him a story from their lives. It features on Malaysiakini every weekend.

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