Malaysian Paediatric Association (MPA) president Dr S. Selva Kumar says there is an urgent need to produce more psychologists in the country.
Speaking at the launch of MPA’s latest programme, Healthy Little Bloomers, earlier today, Dr Selva Kumar said schools with special needs students would benefit from having psychologists.
“This is something that we need to address. Autistic children sometimes have difficulty expressing their feelings or sharing what happened to them,” said Dr Selva Kumar.
“This is where having a psychologist would help.”
“Autistic children are also prone to having meltdowns, while young children these days face many problems, and do not have anyone to talk to. We need psychologists in schools and government hospitals to help the children and adults.”
Dr Selva Kumar added that special needs children are often attacked or bullied as many do not understand them. That is why he is an advocate for schools to be inclusive.
“We should not separate the special needs students. We must include them in our national schools so they will be accepted,” he said.
“This is one way to stop bullying and misconceptions of their conditions.”
Separately, Happy Little Bloomers chairman, Datuk Dr Zulkifli Ismail, said he would consider extending the programme to include other areas, such as mental health, and trauma counselling for children.
“The programme will take an annual thematic approach. In subsequent years, new themes, such as injury prevention and mental health, will be rolled out,” said Dr Zulkifli.
For now, the programme, a joint initiative with 10 early childhood care and education (ECCE) organisations from the private and public sectors, will focus on promoting child health, safety, and wellbeing to 800,000 children in 30,000 centres.
Its initial campaign – Junior Germ Busters – focuses on infection prevention as the country moves towards the endemic phase of Covid-19.
Happy Little Bloomers’ offerings include training for ECCE operators and personnel, fun, exciting and interactive lessons for children, and information and educational materials for parents and primary caregivers.
The programme is inclusive and will cater to children from various population segments, including those who are underprivileged and with special needs.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who launched the event via a video presentation, said those under the age of five, are vulnerable to health and safety threats, such as infectious diseases, injuries, abuse, and neglect.
“The Happy Little Bloomers programme promotes child health holistically and involves systematic, and potentially long-term collaborations between the medical, and the early childhood care and education (ECCE) sectors,” Khairy said.
Source: TwentyTwo13, 15 September 2022