Special Education Unit officers experience life with autism

National 1 minute, 57 seconds


TWO officers from the Special Education Unit (SEU) yesterday joined SMARTER Brunei’s programme to better understand students with autism and help them thrive in education.

The ‘Have a Taste of It’ activity was held yesterday as part of a work attachment programme that will see participants interact with autistic students and attending workshops.

The activity was held at the Autism EDGE Centre in Kg Perpindahan Mata-Mata.

SMARTER President Malai Hj Abdullah Malai Hj Othman said the programme will educate participants on managing and caring for autistic students.

“Before people can take care of those with autism, they have to understand how to live with autism first,” he said.

Once the teachers have the understanding, Malai Hj Abdullah said they can then address some of the challenges that those with autism face, such as sensitivity to loud noises and difficulty of paying attention.

Norhidanajibah Tompal, an education officer at the Special Education Unit, said the knowledge gained from the programme would help improve Brunei’s education quality, especially for special needs students.

“It is important for teachers to have these knowledge and skills, it is good for us because it will help us to properly approach these students and teach them better,” she said in an interview.

She said all teachers should be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills as it would help deliver effective lessons to special needs students.

“Being in the SEU, we have to (learn everything). For example, I take care of gifted students, but I need to be aware of students with autism as well because you never know if you will encounter a student with autism,” she said.

Rose Rafidahwati Md Tamit, a psychologist at the SEU, also said the knowledge gained from the programme is important for teachers to understand students with autism.

“From these activities, we will know how it feels like to (live) with autism. We have to understand how the children with autism feel.

“If teachers have these skills, knowledge and understanding, they will know better on how to approach these students because some don’t know,” she said.

Ten students from Australia’s Flinders University are also taking part in the three-week work attachment programme.

The Australian students are currently in the sultanate as part of the New Colombo Plan, which provides mobility grants for internships.

The Brunei Times