Aimed to understand the effect of sensory processing difficulties in children with special needs, over 40 attended the all-day sensory integration workshop on Saturday, March 10. It was organised by Yayasan Sultan Idris Shah (YSIS) and Persatuan Pemulihan Sultan Azlan Shah Bercham at their centre along Lorong Bercham 11 in collaboration with Network for the Needs of Children with Disabilities Perak.

The speaker of the day was Chandra Kannan, an occupational therapist and senior lecturer of Faculty of Health Sciences at UiTM with 27 years of experience in managing children with special needs.

“Senses are the basic elements that guide children to learn and explore the world. In a lot of children with developmental disabilities, they will have sensory processing disorder. They become scared of some senses. For example, they do not like to eat certain food, are afraid to go for hair cut or brush their teeth. In some children, the senses become so overwhelming that they want it more such as biting,” Chandra explained to Ipoh Echo.

“When this happens, children cannot function as the others at the same age group so socialising and going to school becomes difficult. To improve it requires the cooperation of parents and teachers. Thus this workshop is aimed at educating parents and teachers to differentiate if it’s a behavioural issue or a sensory processing problem. It also includes getting the right help from the right people,” he pointed out. Prior to UiTM, the Perakean was a former senior occupational therapist at YSIS.

“A lot of NGOs are coming out to assist as the prevalence is quite high. The ministry and others need to train the caregivers and teachers from the NGOs to carry out basic interventions. I’d like parents to be our partner by learning and carrying out the same at home,” Chandra suggested.

Ipoh Echo also spoke to Dato’ Dr Ramanathan Ramiah, CEO of YSIS on his vision for the NGO on the eight-acre site. “We are trying to collaborate with other NGOs to utilise our space for joint ventures and training which bring about more awareness among the public. Very often in many of these conditions, the family members go through a denial phase. Our duty as caregiver and medical personnel, should be to educate everybody that such conditions do occur and that we should not be ashamed that this is occurring or deny the child from this help.”

“We have actually bought new ultrasound gadget and going to get laser therapy equipment soon. We are also changing the landscape of this place to make it more friendly for the patients such as the addition of a sensory garden with translucent roofing, pebble walk and plants of fragrance, vibrant colour and texture,” he elaborated.

“I’m trying to get all the NGOs, link them and put them here so that this will be a hub to coordinate with everyone,” the amiable Dr Ramanathan added. Readers who would like to donate to YSIS can channel their contribution to the CIMB account number 80-0504634-2 (Yayasan Sultan Idris Shah). YSIS accepts volunteers too. Call 05 548 1905 or visit ysis.org.my for more details.

Both Yayasan Sultan Idris Shah (YSIS) and Persatuan Pemulihan Sultan Azlan Shah Bercham are located at Lot 158413, Lorong Bercham 11, Bercham, 31400 Ipoh. It offers physiotherapy and pain management services for the public at a minimal fee of RM30 per session. Being a non-profit community centre, any surplus of the revenues will go towards equipment upgrade. It opens from 8am till 5pm for Mondays to Fridays and 8am till 1pm on Saturdays.

Mei Kuan