British Vogue’s Meet the New Suffragettes spread features seven influential females “fighting to empower women in the battle for equality that rages on”. But on seeing the glamorous photo-spread, I had a sinking feeling. The reason? While women of colour and trans women are included, strikingly not one of those featured is disabled.
Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the brain but exponents of conductive education believe that children with the disorder have the potential to move independently, each to a different extent. “The brain is so flexible and there are so many opportunities to make new connections and learn new functions,” asserts Alexandra Major-Bacskai, a conductor-teacher who came to Malaysia to run conductive education classes at the Step and Smile Education Centre about four years ago.
The inspiring stories of students with cerebral palsy who excelled in their education have served as a motivation for Muhammad Aiman Syazrin Abdullah. Wheelchair-bound Aiman, who suffers from the disorder, which affected his ability to move, was among six students who enrolled for Year One under the Special Education Integrated Programme at SK (LKTP) Bukit Goh here today.
As paediatricians, therapists and non-governmental organisations working with children, we wish to see an inclusive education system that welcomes diversity in society. For this reason, we regard the directive from Education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin that pupils in government schools not be placed in classes according to their academic abilities as a welcome and farsighted step towards building a more caring and inclusive society.