For parents of children with special needs, the prospect of providing education for their kids can be a daunting task. Not only do they need to find specialised educational centres as each special need can be varyingly different, special education providers are limited especially in developing countries like Malaysia. Some parents have opted to educate their children at home but again comes the challenge of finding suitable learning tools and the need to socialise with other children. Like any parent with a special needs child, an expat parent would also feel worry and anxiety should they need to move their family from the comfort of their home country to a totally alien environment.
Here in Malaysia, Special Needs Education awareness is growing slowly but surely in Malaysia and in fact Article 28 of Malaysia’s Persons with Disabilities Act 2008 affirms that special needs children are to be given the necessary support to “facilitate their full and equal participation in education”. At the moment, there are quite a number of public special needs schools to cater to the growing needs of the children and parents alike. Special Needs Education in Malaysia has also been given a boost in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 which stipulates that equal access to quality education of an international standard must be available to all.
For expatriates looking at international schooling, there are a few that have Inclusion Education support whereby children with mild special needs like Asperger’s integrate with other children to promote inclusivity and social interaction. Nexus International School and Nilai International School have specially trained teachers and facilities to cater to special needs children. Apart from that, there are private institutions that have full support system for all manners of special needs. TAARANA for example, caters for children with ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Down’s Syndrome, Learning Disability, Sensory-Integration Disorder, Speech Impairment, Global Development Delay, Impulsive Behaviour, Mild Intellectual Impairment and Mild Autism Spectrum Syndrome; or Hils Learning for children with dyslexia and dyscalculia.
Following are some quick facts and figures from a UNICEF report titled Inclusive Education, Malaysia dated June 2014 with data from Malaysia Educational Statistics 2012 (Quick Facts):
Special Needs Schools
These are special schools for children with disabilities. There are currently 33 Special Education Schools.
Primary Schools: 28
- 22 for children with hearing disabilities
- 5 for children with visual disabilities
- 1 for children with learning disabilities
Secondary Schools: 5
- 3 vocational schools
- 1 academic schools for children with visual disabilities
- 1 academic schools for children with hearing disabilities
Special Education Integrated Programme (SEIP)
Specific classes in mainstream schools dedicated to children with special needs. There are currently just under 2,000 mainstream schools with SEIP.
- Primary schools: 1,300
- Secondary schools: 670
Though still lagging behind when compared with other advanced countries, Malaysia is certainly moving in the right direction with more and more institutions offering Special Educational Needs courses for both parents and teachers alike. We are confident that there will be more schools offering inclusive education in the near future, making it easier for special needs children to adapt and integrate into society and their surroundings. If your child has special learning needs, and you would like to know what his/her education options are here in Malaysia, feel free to contact Reloc8 Asia Pacific Group - Malaysia for more information.