Parents hopeful over CDC’s move

National 3 minutes, 30 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

SEVERAL parents of children undergoing therapy at the Child Development Centre (CDC) are hoping its move to Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital next month will mean shorter waiting times for their children’s appointments.

In an interview with The Brunei Times recently, the mother of a child diagnosed with speech delay who preferred to be known as Nur said the integration of CDC’s services at RIPAS Hospital is a ‘positive step’ as this will be able to hasten the diagnostic process of a child’s condition.

“It’s a positive step because from our perspective, I find there’s a lot of delays in the process,” said Nur.

She said her son was diagnosed with a speech disorder in March last year and was referred to a clinical psychologist and a speech therapist for consultation, but he has yet to get an appointment with the audiology department.

“Up until now, my son’s audiology appointment hasn’t been done. So to me, if it’s done centrally, the service will be much faster and the outcome of the transfer will be much more efficient.

“I didn’t come for the first appointment because my son wasn’t feeling well. So understandably, they gave my queue position to someone else, so I had to book another appointment which took me nine months,” she said.

Nur, who has a medical background, said several different health specialists and professionals are often needed when diagnosing a child, which she believes RIPAS Hospital offers.

She added that she was one of the few parents invited to attend the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) dialogue session in March where they were briefed about CDC’s move.

Meanwhile, Rosezalinah Mohamad, who has two children registered under CDC, said she wasn’t aware of the move and only found out about the centre’s integration on national radio which was later confirmed after her son’s psychologist from CDC called to cancel his appointment.

“There was no notification about the move and we weren’t informed about anything,” she said.

Rosezalinah, whose son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and speech delay and whose daughter was diagnosed with autism, added that while the relocation may be in the best interests of special needs children and their families, she has some concerns about the move.

“I was told that different services will be allocated at different blocks in RIPAS, and this concerns me because I drive my two children on my own.

“With a new busy environment like RIPAS and taking their condition into account, they might be overwhelmed,” she said.

She said parking space was also one of her concerns, adding that the current CDC provides a ‘home environment’ feel for children with autism.

In a separate interview, a mother whose child was diagnosed with speech delay who wanted to remain anonymous shared the same sentiments, noting that she heard about CDC’s move from her husband, who works at RIPAS Hospital.

She added that she was never notified by CDC or invited to attend the MoH’s dialogue session but is hopeful that with the relocation, her son’s appointments will no longer be delayed.

She said her son has been receiving occupational therapy from CDC but hasn’t been called in to see a speech therapist.

“It’s been six months of occupational therapy. My son has a speech delay. I don’t know why this was necessary, as I only wanted him to get speech therapy. But CDC insisted, so we just accepted it. After all, they know best.

“They tell me the same thing every time I call – that we’re still in the queue. I’ve already waited for about a year,” she said.

The MoH announced last week during a press conference that CDC will move to the Women and Children’s Centre at RIPAS by June 1, where services under the unit will be delivered under the name Developmental Paediatric Services.

According to Tsara’ Nawwarah Abdullah Chen, senior occupational therapist at CDC, there are 13 health personnel at the centre including a speech therapist, two occupational therapists, two physiotherapists, three psychologists, four doctors and a dentist.

The Brunei Times