Schools must do more for those with special needs
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
PROGRAMMES to reduce stigma and discrimination against people with special needs should be introduced in local schools, said a group of Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) medical students.
Young children need early exposure to people with disabilities so they develop empathy and understanding of the challenges they face, said Ak Muhd Yazakka Pg Hj Mohd Yamin, a third-year medical student at UBD.
Ak Muhd Yazakka, along with two other students – Nazhrah Al-ieman Hj Mostapha and Nurul Farhana Muhd Ariffin – developed a workshop to raise awareness of the stigma and discrimination against special needs people as part of their project.
The two-day workshop, held at the Sungai Kebun Primary School, paired 56 pupils with special needs children from Pusat Ehsan in a series of games and activities.
“The interaction between the children was really interesting. There were communication problems at first but the students managed to find a way,” said Ak Muhd Yazakka.
He added that while the workshop was part of their university project, local schools should have similar programmes to integrate mainstream students with special needs children.
“Two days is not sufficient. It would be good if this project could be carried on to other schools,” said the medical undergraduate.
Survey forms were distributed to the Sg Kebun students before and after the workshop to assess changes in perception of people with disabilities.
“The aim of the intervention surveys is to determine the primary school students’ understanding of stigma and discrimination faced by people with special needs,” said Ak Muhd Yazakka.
The Brunei Times