Muhd Nadzri Bin Kamarudin (Nat) is a student with Fei Yue Early Intervention Programme for Infant and Children (EIPIC). He is diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay and was assessed to be delayed in his cognitive and social-communication areas.
Mother first noticed that her child was delayed when informed by Nat’s childcare Principal. The principal showed her samples of Nat’s work compared to his peers. It was then when she realised that Nat is much slower in academics compared to his peers. She sent him to various tutors but Nat did not seem interested in learning. Her wish for Nat is to be more confident and improve in his academics by being able to read, write and talk well. She would also want him to be able to express his feelings to her so that she knows what he is thinking.
Nat was poor in language and often could not find the words to express himself. When the teacher asked him questions, he would often stop in the middle of the sentence, not knowing how to continue. According to the Brigance test done by the center’s psychologist, he was found lacking in vocabulary to express himself and sometimes used gestures and Malay words to convey meaning. He was also noted to have poor grammar.
When it came to writing tasks, he seemed unmotivated and would constantly ask the teacher if he could play with the toys instead. He would stare at the teacher without writing anything when the teacher asked him to write his name on a piece of paper. He had poor literacy skills, and was unable to read or write. He was able to label about 19 alphabets but had no knowledge of phonics sounds.
Before intervention, he also displayed as a child with low-confidence and would always look at the teacher to reassure him before he performs the task. Even when he needs help, such as tying his shoelaces, he would remain silent instead of requesting for help from the teacher.
Nat started intervention with Fei Yue EIPIC in July 2016. When he first entered EIPIC, Nat was assessed to have adequate gross motor and adaptive skills and was a cooperative child who was able to follow the class rules.
At the end of the intervention year in November 2016, he was able to meet all the goals set for him, which was to write his name independently, label all 26 alphabets, print 13 lowercase letters, and express and give a simple reasoning of his emotion (e.g. I am happy because I can go swimming pool).
The teacher and his mother also noticed that he had cultivated a joy for learning. He no longer asked to play when given writing tasks and would even ask the teacher why he was not given work to do in school. He is enthusiastic in learning the phonic sounds and would excitedly tell the teacher, “Ssss snake, got the sss sound right?” His mother also gave feedback that he enjoys going to Fei Yue and if he did not go to the centre, he would feel upset.
Nat seems more confident now and would spontaneously go up to the teacher to ask for help and is more willing to try out new tasks. He is a thoughtful child who thinks for his mother and his peers. When his peer was upset because Nat was faster than him in completing a task, he told the teacher, “I know. I can wait for him!”
The transdisciplinary team is pleased with his progress and is confident that he will continue to show steady progress. We are eager to see him maximise his potential in the last year of attending EIPIC.
For a sustainable positive change, it is necessary that Nat’s learning behaviour is performed in absence of external pressure. With the creation of a safe and supportive environment, he is more likely to stay motivated to do his work. This highlighted the key for Nat to find optimal success – to celebrate his small victories along his learning journey. There is no other form of motivation that works quite as well as encouragement. Support should be offered no matter what the end result is and ensure that he doesn’t feel overwhelmed by expectations that he gives up. Additionally, being the class captain, he sees classroom jobs as a privilege rather than a burden and work hard to ensure that he, and other students, are meeting expectations. In other words, there should be more emphasis on what he can do instead of what he cannot do as all he needs is a little help, a little hope and somebody to believe in him.