By Desperate Parent
My son AK is 16 this year and he goes to a regular school in a prime location in Kuala Lumpur. AK is a special child; he was diagnosed as a dyslexic when he was in pre-school.
I was flabbergasted for a few days when this was revealed at two separate professional assessments and that was a decade ago. The rest is history.
Since then, every day has been filled with trials and tribulations of various kinds, managing and dealing with problems AK comes in contact with due to his learning disability.
We got him a personal tutor whose only objective was to teach AK how to read and write. He made slow progress week by week and month by month. While children his age were counting their As in school examinations, AK was still struggling to put letters together to make words and sentences.
Additionally, he grew overly self-conscious as being different from others made him feel inferior.
Apart from having to cope with his tantrums from his limitations academically, we were often looking for some small thread of hope somewhere to get him out of the rut.
At age 9 he learned to read simple words and he worked himself into sentences from then on. Today, at 16, AK is fluent in English and reads and writes almost like a normal kid. For some strange reason, his punctuation is still in a mess, which we are working on with him.
For dyslexics, learning a second language is a burden and hence at the urging of his special tutor, we decided Bahasa Malaysia will come in the later part of his schooling. He speaks and understands Malay pretty well except that he is unable to cope with academic subjects taught in the language.
With his innate inability to grasp mathematical concepts easily, AK is far behind in this subject. He needs to work 10 times harder with 20 times more practice than a normal kid to be able to grasp a simple mathematical equation, for example.
With all these looming over him like a dark cloud, AK is preparing himself for PT3 this year. AK has so much drive in him and he has worked up his own goals. As parents, we are supporting him in every way we can to achieve his goals.
Having said that, I have discovered something quite obvious in AK as he struggles through his school work daily. He has a major memory issue. At the point of learning, AK gets all enthusiastic and he grasps things pretty quickly. The problem is his ability to retain the information.
As early as the next day, he forgets. But all he needs is a little prompting before he gets on track again.
My question to the Examinations Syndicate is can an exception be made for special needs children like AK where he is allowed to bring in some references?
After all, as we progress into adulthood, there is little need for us to memorise anything in this day and age.
I am willing to get him clinically assessed to prove that his major disability stems from his inability to retain much in his memory.
Desperate Parent is an FMT reader