Rashitah Rahmat was my classmate in STF back in 1981-1985. Kulit hitam manis and hair touched her shoulder, Shitot was one of the brightest girls in our class;always the first in class for all exams as far as i remembered, at least from form 1 till form 3 (kan shitot???). It is really a small world because though my path and Shitot's never cross after we left school in 1985, my husband knew Shitot and her husband when all of them studied in the US!
Apart from being classmates during our secondary school years, another thing me and Shitot shared in common is that we both have an autistic son. Since, recently, my concern on Danial's future primary school deepens, i could think of noone else to turn to for advise....of course it would be none other than my dear old friend...Shitot.
Here is my recent conversation with her via emails...
I nak tanya ur opinion la. My son danial kan mild autism. Most of his autistic behavior dah ilang.But he is still delayed in speech. He has another year at kindergarten. I tak yakin die can cope with the public school yang ramai2 tu. Tp nak masukkan kat kelas pendidikan khas kat skola tu cam die akan bercampur dgn bdk2 yang lagi teruk developmental problemnye. I takut if i joinkan die dlm kelas tu, die regress pulak instead of progressing. What say you?
put him in the normal stream. my son tu kena assess by the PPD officers pasal I want them to see how he is - he does not qualify to be in the special class pasal borderline case. too normal to be in special class but not normal enough to be in the normal stream. he will not improve in the special class. let him try that first. he can still be transferred to special class later kalau you risau sangat but it is not reversible once you place him in the special class. you kan cikgu jugak - why worry too much. have faith in him.
not that i dont have faith in him..i takut sgt die kena buli and bdk2 ejek die.. i am sooo afraid he cannot defend himself...and in the end, die akan depress..
we need to go thru this episode...my son pernah balik sekolah dgn baju dia ada kesan tapak kasut budak mana entah. i pernah witness budak tendang dia. pasal kena ejek tu nak cakap macamana lagi pasal he is different - kids are kids. my daughter used to get very upset pasal org usik adik dia plus sometimes dia rasa malu ada adik mcm tu. most parents in that school know me. ada yg brand me as mak yg tak reti jaga anak pasal they all don't understand him at all. i don't bother to explain myself to any of them. teachers pun susah - ada yg concerned, ada yg tak bother at all. we cannot shelter him or protect him all the time. he needs to know and go through the basic things in life. i don't think i am being too harsh on him by letting him go through all that. i don't set high expectations on him - after what he has gone through, i think it is a miracle that he survives five years of school so far. he is not doing well at school but at the autistic center - he is one of the "good" boys they have ever had. he was invited twice to present flowers to the queen. I once saw him on the stage in USM where he was presented as a subject of the seminar. he was in concerts in two hotels so far - invitations from companies. at least i rasa sejuk jugak - merasa jugak anak i ni naik stage and perform for a crowd. i have given talk to medical students on raising a special child. i have received calls from parents in KL to Perlis for advice on raising special children. entah sapa yg forwardkan number i but itulah kelebihan ada anak mcm ni. sometimes i just wish that he dies first so i tak rasa risau - sapa nak jaga dia bila i mati nanti....give him a chance to grow up the normal way. he may surprise you. one thing at a time.
Hai...pening kepala rasanya where to send Danial for his primary school education in 2010. Some of you might wonder...alahai, lama lagi. But not to me. I am not a last minute person and i do not like surprises be it pleasant or not. I always plan ahead of whatever i want to do. I started to look around for a suitable kindergarten for my eldest Aisyah when she was barely 2 years old! And now Danial...
One thing for sure, as of now, i plan to put Danial in the normal stream. And i guess, Danial is about the same level as Shitot's son at the time of enrolling primary school - borderline case. too normal to be in special class but not normal enough to be in the normal stream. However, i plan to enrol Danial in a private school of normal stream around Shah Alam that has a smaller number of children in a class. Also, Danial will still continue his speech therapy with his current therapist. To help him cope with his primary school work, i might approach one teacher in Ira's school who happens to be a trained teacher for special kids. What else ya? I can't think of anything else right now but i have faith that Allah will always be with me and show me the way for Danial's future. At the moment, my doa is Allah will show me or give me guidance on which school would be the most suitable for my son Danial.