Professor Chuang Chiung Hui who is now a consultant at Shin-Wan-Ai Centre, Taichung, Taiwan, a centre dedicated to helping special needs children, remembered how her teachers treated her as equals even though she suffers from poliomyelitis.
She credits her teachers for her involvement with special needs children now.
In her work with this group of children, Chuang believes in early intervention and inclusion programme for special needs children.
Chuang is the living proof that inclusion programme works, given the understanding and love from teachers.
“I have never been to a special school. In addition, I think growing up, I always had teachers to take care of me. They always made sure what I did was right.
“There was no special school in my time, nor did they know anything about special needs.
“Because they were willing to teach me and treat me just like other children, though with special attention, I am able to stand here as I am today,” she pointed out.
She also said there was no special training for teachers in those times.
“Teachers are very important. I believe helping children is not a very difficult thing to do if teachers are willing to spend more time to understand their needs,” she said.
She also said whether the children could be successful all depended on teachers.
Chung said she was grateful in spite of her disability because of the opportunity to share her experience with her students.
She believed her disability happened for a reason; it allowed her to see differently and be determined to help others.
“I do not think I would fight for what I am fighting right now if I were not born like this. I think God does not create you as a useless person, but with a purpose,” she pointed out.
Chuang said the most difficult part in this job was not dealing with children, but parents.
She cited an example of a teacher who finally gave up her job as a teacher because of the pressure from a parent who was not willing to cooperate.
She related that there was a child who had communication problem and did not talk for about six months. The teacher approached the mother of the child and told her that she believed that the child was a special needs child.
The mother of the child got very angry and threatened to call for a press conference if the school could not provide a genuine apology.
“The matter was resolved in the end, but the teacher was heartbroken and finally gave up and resigned,” she lamented, adding that a doctor was later consulted and confirmed that the child was indeed a special needs child.
She also added that the centre had always motivated the teachers to be patient and conduct special training for teachers to enable them to communicate with the parents.
On the National Early Childhood Intervention Conference at Kingwood Hotel here, she said it was a good event that marked a new beginning to do something for special needs people.