Sunday, July 10, 2016

Autism and all that is necessary to bring out the talent in the child.

Autistic boy wonder in Penang gets letter from Obama
Published: 22 August 2014

Gifted 11-year-old Delwin Cheah with the letter from US President Barack Obama. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, August 22, 2014.Gifted 11-year-old Delwin Cheah with the letter from US President Barack Obama. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, August 22, 2014.It is not everyday a boy receives a letter from the President of the United States. Let alone if he is an 11-year-old who lives halfway across the globe.
But Penang boy Delwin Cheah Wien Loong did, when he received a letter from President Barack Obama.
Delwin is no ordinary boy. He is the Malaysia Book of Records' "Youngest Artist To Hold Solo Visual Art Exhibition (Autism Spectrum Disorder)" and the United States' Record Setter's "World Youngest Savant Artist (ASD) to hold a Solo Exhibition".
Delwin is autistic but his achievements had previously earned him and his family the chance to meet and rub shoulders with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
Now, he has a letter from Obama, thanking him for his "gift", a book of his drawings titled "I Can Draw".
In the July 14 letter, Obama wrote that "the world needs young people like you who are trying hard in school, serving your community, and dreaming big dreams".
"We face many challenges, but with your help, we can build on what we have already achieved and forge a brighter tomorrow," the US president wrote.
Delwin's parents Lawrence Cheah and Erina Law said they never expected a letter from the president and were surprised to learn that Obama had recently received the book.
"The book came out two years ago when Delwin had his first art exhibition," she said.
Her husband Lawrence said they had no idea who gave the book to Obama.
"We are also trying to find out who is this person," he said.
The couple and their son have been in the news many times because of the boy's talent in drawing.
Banking on what Delwin can do, the proud parents have been trying to reach out to other parents with autistic children, reminding them never to give up.
Often, they try to inspire others with Delwin's story, from the time they discovered he had Asperger's Disorder at age five but also an IQ of 114, making him the world's youngest Savant artist today.
Lawrence and his wife advocate early detection and early intervention, and they stress on the importance of teaching and training children with autism from young to help them develop their talents.
"Once you have the diagnosis, you can only accept (that your child has) autism and start seeing to your child's training and education to develop his or her hidden talents," he said, stressing that waiting for the child to grow up to be taught would be too late.
He said Delwin had started drawing when he was just over three years old, and even then he had been drawing wild animals especially Safari animals.
"I sent Delwin to art classes after we discovered that he liked drawing. The teacher came to me and said my son was the worst student and he can never be an artist.
"Delwin could not take instructions. He just drew whatever that came to him. So the teacher did not know how to deal with a student like that.
"But we never gave up and we kept encouraging him to develop his skills and his art. Delwin is where he is now because we persevered together with him as a team," Lawrence said.
When it comes to art, Delwin is not like kids his age, who would normally use pencils to draw so they could easily rub off mistakes. Delwin uses pens and draws his animals so well there are no mistakes.
Law said it is important to understand how autistic children learn and do things differently, and be supportive instead of regarding them as disabled.
Delwin, she said, does not hold a disabled person's card and goes to a normal school with normal schoolmates.
He is enrolled in Lighthouse Academy Penang, a private school with an American syllabus in Tanjung Bungah that uses a homeschooling approach with its students.
"Delwin attends school like other children his age. He just learns differently," she said.
The family's hardwork with Delwin and their belief in his abilities paid off when the boy began making waves in recent years.
On Christmas Day 2011, Delwin was recognised by Stroke of Genius, an American organisation that educates and empowers people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) by promoting their abilities.
In April 2012, he took part in the organisation's art exhibition at the United Nations Plaza in New York and in February last year, he had his first solo show.
In April last year, Delwin made the Malaysia Book of Records as the youngest artist to hold a solo visual art exhibition with 60 art pieces.
Later in November, he was officially named the world's youngest savant artist to hold an exhibition by the Record Setter.
In April this year, he again made his mark with the Malaysia Book of Records for winning the "Most Outstanding Personality (Art Category)" award.
The latest feather on Delwin's cap is of course the letter he received from the White House.
Savant syndrome is a condition in which a person with a mental disability, such as an autism spectrum disorder, demonstrates profound and prodigious capacities or abilities far in excess of what would be considered normal.
Some people with Savant syndrome demonstrate exceptional skills in areas like rapid calculation, art, memory and musical ability.
Asperger syndrome or Asperger disorder (AD) is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterised by significant difficulties in social interaction, non-verbal communication, restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour and interests.
People with Asperger's do not have a learning disability and most go through mainstream school, pursue higher education and enter employment, and some would excel in areas like mathematics, science, language, memory and concentration. – August 22, 2014.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/autistic-boy-wonder-in-penang-gets-letter-from-obama#sthash.5OMXzS8S.dpuf

Friday, July 08, 2016

Wise words from a Johore prince.

First, it is only proper that people know that Johore is one of the states in Malaysia.

And when somebody's wife shook the hands of the prince from Johore, there were so many negative comments, he had no alternative but to comment on them.  
Below is the prince's comment which was published on Malaysiakini on 9 July, 2016.
As i find his words has so much wisdom in them, I hope to share them with anyone interested .

COMMENT I was informed by our club Johor Darul Takzim FC's website that there were a lot of negative comments on how JDT player Mohd Safiq Rahim's wife shook hands with me.
There are a few individuals who are trying to be an ustaz or the state mufti on Facebook.
To me, when it comes to religion we are nothing compared to the Almighty. Therefore only Allah can judge us and not human beings.
Only Allah can decide whether our prayers are accepted or not. Only God can judge whether we go to heaven or hell.
We are simply human beings and therefore should not judge others especially on petty things. Islam is about love and respect and not about judging others especially when it involves hatred.
The problem is, too many are trying to be smarter than the Quran.
Although I am born to be a ruler, I am also just a human being. I have no rights to judge whether Allah will accept you or otherwise. Unless you rape people or hurt children, kill people, steal or take from the needy.
Here is some honesty that some of you hypocrites are not used to because too many of you are used to pretentious people in your life here.
I am a Muslim and the holy religion of Islam is much bigger than me. I must say I am not an expert when it comes to Islam but one thing I believe is that Allah will bless you, if you have a good heart, kind, honest, helping one another and respecting others.
Who's to say which path leads to heaven?
There are many school of thoughts in Islam. Who are we to say which one of us will go to heaven? Who are we to say which school of thoughts is the right Islam.
As for me, I prefer to stick with what I have been taught since I was young and to abide by the Holy Quran.
I'm also going to stick to my customs and traditions of a Malay because I'm born Malay.
If there are some of you who wish to be an Arab and practice Arab culture, and do not wish to follow our Malay custom and tradition that is up to you. At least I'm real and not a hypocrite and the people of Johor know who their ruler is.
I don't pretend to wear a jubah but behind closed doors be addicted to drugs and neither am I a gambling junkie. I do not steal from my people and I always speak the truth.
I have the courage to speak what others dare not because of their own personal interest and with me, what you see is what you get.
I always strive to be as real and transparent as I can with my people because as I've mentioned numerous times its better to be hated for being honest and real than be loved and be a fake and a hypocrite.

Pada suatu ketika di Padang Seri Gelam. Perkara yang aneh telah berlaku sebentar tadi.----A very unusual incident happened at Padang Seri Gelam some time ago.
Posted by JOHOR Southern Tigers on Monday, February 22, 2016
Education is key
I respect your choice even though I'm amazed why we Malaysians, especially the Malays, are so easily influenced. The answer is simple. Education.
Education allows us to see the world differently. Education gives you the knowledge to abide by your principles and policies in life.
I have no rights to tell you what to believe or follow and all I have is my honest, humble opinion that we shouldn't try to be smarter than the Quran. All we need to know are the basics.
To my fellow Johoreans - be Muslim, not extremist. Being Muslim is to respect one another. Johor has its own tradition and culture and the same goes to other states. We are all different - different in our interpretations of the teachings of Islam, different in religion and different in ethnicity.
Pointing fingers and judging each other will not make this country a better place. We shouldn't have any place in our heart for hatred.
Do you know how we can make this country a better place and live in harmony? Simple, educate yourself, and respect one another.
Long live Johor, may Allah protect the sultan and the state of Johor.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A lady all religious leaders ought to learn from.

Today I read of an incredible Sarawakian lady by the name of Zabariah Matali who used a Christian center with a cross on the wall for an interfaith 'buka puasa' (opening of fast) event. Defending her usage of a Christian center with a cross on its wall, Zabariah said that there was nothing offending as the cross is just a religious symbol of the place just as the Islamic sayings on the wall of her own Islamic center would not have been offending to members of other faiths should they come to her center.

To me, she is truly God's messenger of peace and unity for all humans no matter what religion they belong to. After all, God is the creator of all humans, no matter the race or religion. Would God wish any harm or disrespect to any of his people, no matter what name humans call their God. For me, God has always been God and I have no name for Him as He certainly has been here before any of us. When man created a name for God, it is obvious that they use their own language and as they wanted it.

Fortunately for the world there comes a lady who can see clearly that we should praise and pray to God and have respect for Him no matter how we name Him. The world would certainly be a better world if all religious leaders were to follow the example set by the Sarawakian lady.

It is certainly time for religious leaders to set aside their own human beliefs and ideas so as to return to the true path of God. This is obviously necessary as we see religions throughout the world go separate ways to form their own groups with differences which are less than holy and can bring calamities to the world as they want others to believe only in their own philosophies and human beliefs. Let us return to the true teachings of God without changing or misinterpreting them to suit our own desires, be they political or human egos.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Health involves exercise, rest and diet

I lost a friend a week ago and it was not because he was not health conscious. This friend knew he had to exercise to keep physically fit. He would cycle long distances, sometimes into a neighbouring country to enjoy the scenes and improve his health.

Once, about three or four years ago, he invited me to partner him in a canoe race along the Merbok River with the competition ending at Pantai Merderka (Merdeka Beach).For me it was the first time I had ever paddled anything in a river and, knowing that, he got us involved in taking a boat from Pantai Merdeka to the starting point about five days before the competition. That was exhilarating but extremely tiring. Fortunately, our muscles recovered sufficiently to find us ready to the race.

This friend likes to travel around on his bicycle and it was good exercise for him. His stamina was good. His rest was usually enough, being able to sleep soundly through the night each day. However, he forgot about limiting the amount of certain foods in his diet until it was a little bit too late. His diet consists of too much fata and oils and this lead to high blood pressure. It was only when he discovered that his cholesterol level and blood pressure were too high that he decided to eat less fats and oils and take oats for breakfast.

Unfortunately, his arteries were already narrowing and one morning, while he was driving somewhere, someone honed loudly as a car overtook his and that caused a heart-attack from which he lost his life.

Perhaps, if he had looked into his diet earlier, he could be alive today. Whatever it is, let us check ourselves and confirm we have enough exercise, rest and a healthy diet so that we may move into our future with greater assurance of good health.Let us give good health first priority.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Of course, there is hope for brain injured children

A few days ago, I wrote about having hope where some doctors said there were none. I was talking about brain injured children. Somehow I got interested in brain injury and the kind of help available to such children. Down's children is fairly commonly seen. There are children with hyperactive brains and there are those who are mentally retarded. As a teacher I have seen some of them in schools. As for brain damaged, autistic cerebral-palsied and brain-damaged children we seldom see them but that is not to say that they do not exist.

Having gone through some of the books, watched the you-tube videos and read about the well known people involved in neuroplasticity, I know there is hope for brain injured children and adults, no matter the cause. In my previous posting I have written about Glenn Doman and his Institute For The Achievement Of Human Potential which developed the therapies for brain injured children through their understanding of the cause of the limitations of brain injured children and the stages of development of the human child. Besides Doman, there is Anat Baniel who had worked with Feldenkrais and developed a method for getting the brain to register movements to overcome limitations imposed by brain injuries. Her book 'Kids Beyond Limits' is very informative on the techniques she uses. Her success in this field has been well known to many who needed her assistance.

Feldenkrain himself had trained practitioners to help such brain injured children too. To know what such practitioners do, go to you-tube where you can see movements they use to assist the children.

Besides Anat Baneil, there are many other practitioners trained by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais. One of the practitioners I frequently visit on you-tube is Jeremy Kriauss whose method is clear and interesting to viewers. His explanations on his approach, The Jeremy Kriauss Approach, is very clear on how he achieves the aims he desires.

For further information on neuroplasticity, two excellent books by Norman Doidge are Brain's Way of Healing and The Brain That Changes Itself. They contain information that can lead you not only to solutions for brain injured children but also for well childrens greater development and adultswith brain problems such as stroke and possibly prevention of Alzhemer's.

Well, hope the above information can be of help to someone..

Sunday, May 01, 2016

And there is always hope


A few years ago, someone told me the brain cannot replace the cells and neurons that have died due to some kind of injury, be it from birth or some other external traumatic forces. Why can other parts of the body be repaired naturally and not the brain? As someone who is growing older each day, I was suddenly curious about this as I know aging people can develop brain problems such as slowly and gradually forgetting things. Now that started me on reading up on the matter. Unfortunately, there was nothing in our libraries or even the local bookstores with such a subject available. Then, the point in my destiny came and I read somewhere about The Institute of Human Potential. I sent them a letter and the beautiful thing was, they replied to my queries with pamphlets. There was a booklet which revealed their work. Parents accompanied their little brain-injured child to the Institute so that they could learn what to do each day to overcome the problem faced by their beloved children.

A few years later, I bought the book 'What to do about your brain-injured child' by Glenn Doman, the founder of The Institute For The Achievement of Human Potential from the Popular Bookstore. I learned from the book and knew there is always hope for people with brain in jury.

Then, one day I was told by the 'Longevitology' group to which I participate in that a brain injured child need the help of two volunteers. I gladly offered my assistance as I could see that my destiny beakons.

The next day, when I reached the eight month old baby's residence, the mother told us, actually 'Chang Sen Sue' or Longevitology was not their first choice. But then, nobody seem to be able to offer any help, especially those people in the medical profession. When I heard that I told her what I knew of the Institute For the Development of Human Potiential. That evening she went to the internet and found that this particular institute was holding a course in Singapore. She immediately contacted them and the next morning found her at the course and allowed entry despite the fact that she had missed one day of the course. Yes, she had been successful in her pleas for permission to attend with the understanding that she must go through the first day of that course at a future date at another location.

The mother had finally found hope for her child. Before this, doctors had told her the child will always be unable to do everything a normal child can no matter what treatment is applied.

And with hope, lots of patience, universal qi from Longevitology and the right movements, the child has slowly but gradually improved. The parents, their relatives, friends and myself are obviously delighted with the development of the baby. There is certainly hope, hope of one day having this little girl running towards us for a hug.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

When fear rules

That can help us avoid doing the things which can hurt us.
However, it can also sometimes prevents us from doing what is right.
And that is not the only consequence of experiencing fear. Remember that most of us are parents and as parents we are the examples which our children will follow. Our children will inherit the very same thoughts and attitudes towards things they face in life.

Now, where do the above thoughts emerge from? Well, in Malaysia today, the citizens have to be careful with what they utter in public, write on paper or on face-book. If the authorities were to deem what has been said or written as insulting to the government, the Islamic religion or one of our many rulers, the author of such material can be facing the sedition act.

So, it is not uncommon these days to not say what they see,  hear or know or believe in, for a statement of fact can be construed as seditious as long as certain people's feelings have been claimed to be hurt. So what kind of situation has arisen as a result of this? Perhaps, it is best illustrated by a comment from one of the readers from Malaysiakini, a news portal. Below is the copied comment with my comment given within brackets:
The comment: Remember the story of a young boy who shouted, "The emperor is not wearing any clothes"?

All the members of the court said the emperor’s clothes were the finest they had seen. The public agreed with the courtesans. (Why? Because all of them were afraid of disagreeing with the emperor. They fear the consequences of telling the truth!)

The emperor was fooled into believing the flattery of his inner circle. (And so, the emperor thought he was majestically right in his lovely invisible clothes when in actual fact he was totally naked.) Only the innocent boy really saw what everybody said they did not see. Sometimes real life is like that. (How true it is!)

It was only yesterday that someone told me her female neighbour was so stupidly courageous as to throw an old worn-out Malaysian flag into a dustbin. In a most horrified expression, she asked me to imagined what could possibly happened if somebody were to see it and report to the authorities. Oh, my God, imagine the trouble she could have got herself into, the lady cried.

Upon hearing this, I asked her what could be wrong with throwing away what is no longer useable. It obviously is the right thing for her neighbour to do. So, I asked her if she were the one with such a flag, how would she dispose of it.

"Oh, no!" she replied. If I were her, I would stealthily burn it when I am absolutely sure no one is around. I wouldn't want to get myself into trouble even though the flag ought to be replaced with a new one." she exclaimed. That is the kind of fear that may have got a good grip on Malaysians. 

"Not only that! Soon after that, another person came; wanted the stick holding the flag and so, ripped off the flag to be able to take only the stick home," she continued.

So, I asked her what was wrong with that. The guy wanted the stick but not the worn out flag. Certainly, he had to remove the flag from the stick.

"Ripping the Malaysian flag?" She put on a horrified face and stood rooted to the spot with some kind of fear in her expression.

Imagine such unwarranted fear even when there is no disrespect shown or felt for an object; even when it is doing the necessary.

Is such fear healthy? Maybe good for members of the Malaysian society to avoid being charged with sedition, but when society becomes so easily fearful over such small matters, there is certainly something wrong somewhere.