Special Needs Across Lifespan

By Tan Mei Kuan

Jointly organised by the Rotary Club of Kinta and Hospital Fatimah, a seminar on special needs across lifespan was held from October 5 to 6 at the Brother Liborius Auditorium of Hospital Fatimah.

With free admission, it was aimed to create awareness of the importance of early detection and early intervention in special needs, to highlight the varying needs and challenges faced by individuals with special needs and their families across their lifespan, and to identify parent leaders to support families with special needs through existing NGOs.

“I am thankful to the panel of speakers, 90% of them are from Ipoh ranging from parents, teachers, therapists and clinicians,” said Dr Shan Narayanan, Co-organising Chairman cum Resident Consultant Paediatrician of Hospital Fatimah.

“As Hospital Fatimah is a private tertiary healthcare facility, it is indeed very appropriate that this seminar is held here which provides a wide spectrum of specialist disciplines. Our hospital would like to be actively involved in activities for the community especially in the preventive, promotive and developmental aspects of health,” explained Dr Lim Chie Kean, Medical Director of Hospital Fatimah.

“In today’s fast track world, young ones are cared for in nurseries, day-care centres and by carers. Children spend most of the day in schools, tuition classes and games, so much so that for parents or carers, there is a tendency to overlook or take things for granted. There may be changes in their development and learning pattern that may go unnoticed,” highlighted Gnanasagaran, President of the Rotary Club of Kinta.

“Hospital Fatimah started by Brothers of Mercy 45 years ago has developed into a health facility providing comprehensive specialist clinical services. The vision of Blessed Peter Friedhofen, the founder of Brother of Mercy, ‘to care for sick and needy’ has become a reality. What an excellent combination of his vision and Rotary’s motto of providing “Service Above Self” to help those with special needs. I am told 45% of the attendees here are teachers, predominantly mainstream school teachers. This is a reflection of the increasing number of children with various types and varying degrees of special needs,” stated Dr Lee Boon Chye, the Deputy Minister of Health, the guest of honour for the day.

“Our early intervention services have improved over the years. Our services for adolescents and adults with special needs is just developing to address key issues of puberty, sexuality, employment and the long haul. The seminar addresses these important areas. Well done organisers!” he added.

Present were Dr Alex Khoo Peng Chuan, Paediatric Neurologist of Hospital Fatimah, Rev Bro Patrick Liew, Chairman of Hospital Fatimah Exco and Dato’ Dr Ramanathan Ramiah, CEO of Yayasan Sultan Idris Shah (YSIS).

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