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Rosmah Impressed With Techniques In Teaching Autisic Children | 14/04/2010
Untitled document WASHINGTON, April 14 2010 (Bernama) -- The success of the Ivymount School in Rockville, near here, in building confidence in autistic children and enabling them to interact with others through teaching techniques that incorporate music, songs and dance has left Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor deeply impressed.

The prime minister's wife said she found the non-profit day school's accomplishments inspiring.

"Although the children are slow learners or autistic, they have talents, and given the exposure in music, they not only can sing or play music but also compose songs," she told Malaysian journalists Tuesday.

Rosmah, who is Bakti (Welfare Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers) president, and several Bakti members had earlier visited the Ivymount School, about 20km from the US capital.

The school which was established almost 50 years ago with only one child, now has over 200 students aged between four and 21 with specific learning disabilities, multiple disabilities, speech or language impairment, autism, mental retardation or other impairments.

Rosmah was also attracted to the school's way of inculcating independence and social responsibility in the children, who sold food and collected donations for victims of natural disasters.

She said her delegation learned a lot from the visit, and were confident that with the support and grant from the government, a similar school could be set up in Malaysia but tailored to the local autistic children's needs.

Rosmah said Malaysia so far did not have such a special school although incorporating music in the teaching method for children with learning disabilities had already started.

Earlier, in her speech, Rosmah said Bakti which had been active in assisting organisations that cared for children with special needs, would be organising a carnival for them in Kuala Lumpur in November.

She said this was to get the special children assimilated into society and to encourage the public to buy handicrafts made by them, among the objectives.

Rosmah is in Washington accompanying Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who is on a working visit and attending the Nuclear Security Summit which kicked off on Monday, at the invitation of US President Barack Obama.

Among the Bakti members accompanying Rosmah were Datin Seri Masnah Rais (wife of the Information Communication and Culture Minister), Datin Seri Khamarzan Ahmad Meah (wife of the International Trade and Industry Minister), Datin Seri Shuryani Shuaib (wife of the Rural and Regional Development Minister) and Prof Datin Seri Aishah Salleh (wife of the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister).

Also in Rosmah's delegation are the wives of the Negeri Sembilan and Pahang Menteri Besar and Melaka and Sabah Chief Ministers.

Ivymount School director Janet Wintrol in her briefing said the school had 206 teachers including special education teachers with Master's degrees, while the assistant teachers had at least a diploma or basic degree.

She said most of the children sent to the school were funded by the county they lived as it was costly, with a fee of US$63,000 a year.

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