My early motherhood experience is simply a walk in the park. Yes. It was a walk in the park, with rampaging dinosaurs in it with plenty of active volcanic explosions arround, that is. It was a nightmare, to be honest, especially when my son was diagnosed with autism. Had it my way, I never want to talk about all the mental tortures that I went through during those early years rising my son, but I somewhat believe that other parents, especially Malaysian parents whose children are on the spectrum can benefit from my experience.
As a child with autism, my son’s behaviour and milestones has always been different from the peers his age, and as all of you might know, Malaysians lacks knowledge and awareness on things like this. I lost count on how many times I was being judged harshly for it. The most painful thing was that I was accused for being a failed mother and neglects my son’s education and well being that he turns out ‘that way’; failed in toilet training at appropriate age, failed in teaching him the basics of reading and writing, failed to train him to talk in full sentences and allowed him to be picky with his food, you name it. The worst part of it all is that all these accusations came from close friends, relatives and family, who were supposed to be my pillar of support. They told me off about being a failure to my face, and having one accusations after another being hurled into my face consequently made me slipped into depression for a little while until I joined some Special Needs and Autism Parents Support Group on Facebook that’s based in US. These people are no experts. They are parents or caretaker who are living with persons with autism 24/7 and they helped me out alot.
The thing about Malaysians in general is that most are still living in some pre-historic caves somewhere. Most don’t bother to educate themselves and are still in denial, especially when it comes to children with behavioural disorders and learning disabilities. I have no doubt that most parents in Malaysia don’t even bother to even look up what Autism, Asperger, ADHD, ADD, Dyslexia and whatnot until they had a child who are on the spectrum themselves, and even then, most will be in denial in a little while and felt overwhelming shame for having such children. Some even went as far as to hide away their special need children at home as they think that would be the best thing they can do for their children and avoid being judged by the society.
When it comes to autism, there’s no children who are exactly the same as the others who are also diagnosed with autism. My son for example is on the spectrum and have loads of other issues as well. The most noticeable ones would be that he is non verbal, lack social and communication skills, have sensory processing disorder and on top of that, he is also dyslexic; which means he have terrible learning difficulties when it comes to reading and writing. My son is a teenager now. In his pre-teen and he is still struggling with reading and writing. Mainstreaming is not an option and I ended up signing up for alternative form of education for him and I am constantly keeping my eyes peeled for education establishment that cater to children with dyslexia.
The lack of experts and proper early intervention program to rectify the reading problems of dyslexic children before they fall behind in traditional schooling can lead to irreparable harm, low self-esteem and a widening gap that becomes increasingly difficult to close. This has negative societal implications and parents should ensure that their dyslexic children are able to read proficiently, just like other neurotypical kids. Here’s sharing with you the Orton Gillingham Learning Approach.
Orton-Gillingham is an instructional approach intended primarily for use with individuals who have difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing of the sort associated with dyslexia and is recognized by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA).
The Orton-Gillingham Approach is now available in Malaysia with the opening of Altuz Academy, a premier education centre for those with dyslexia.
Checking out the newly opened Altuz Academy during their open day recently has been somewhat an eye opening experience.
The Orton-Gillingham approach was developed in the 1920s by Dr Samuel Orton, a doctor who first discovered dyslexia, together with Anna Gillingham, a gifted teacher and psychologist. This approach has been further supported by over 100,000 scientific studies over 70 years that conclusively showed that a reading approach should include five important pillars: phonemic awareness, systematic phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. In the hands of a skilled instructor, this is a powerful instructional approach that benefits students of all ages and abilities so that learning becomes a rewarding experience.
The key features of this approach are multisensory, sequential. incremental, cumulative, individualized, based on phonograms and explicit. And in case you are wondering, Academic Language Therapists at Altuz Academy received vigorous training and supervised practicum accredited by the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE) and IDA.
Dr Choy Su Ling, together with centre manager Yap Jo Ling created history in the international dyslexia community by being the first two AOGPE-trained academic language therapists from Malaysia.
According to Dr.Choy Su Ling, the founder of Altuz Academy, it is critically important that remedial specialists, educators and teachers working with dyslexic students be vetted, highly trained in an evidence-based approach with oversight and accountability. Literacy training should be comprehensive, accredited by an international organization and include a supervised practicum development. And the professionals will be continuosly observed and audited by the AOGPE to meet and maintain the high standards of teaching.
Yours truly and the founder of Altuz Academy, Dr.Choy Su Ling.
Now, it is understandable that you find it difficult to accept if you discovered that your children are dianosed with Autism, Asperger, ADD, ADHD or other sorts of learning difficulty disorders like Dyslexia or even Disgraphia, but being in denial got to stop, because early intervention matters and makes a lot of difference helping the children achieve a better quality life. These are not sickness that you can cure via medicine, but disorders that needs intervention. Marital disagreements regarding special need children and playing the blame game between spouses also got to stop as sooner you get yourselves educated and face the truth and reality of the situation, the sooner we can help our special need children, and in this case, help them sail through Dyslexia.
For more information on Altuz Academy, and how you can help children or people with Dyslexia, hop over HERE