THREE years ago, Chong Jin Hao was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
(Chong Wei Meng with his son Chong Jin Hao, who has improved through the programmes.)
Like other autistic children, he had significant communication, social and behavioural issues. The little boy liked to be left alone and was very emotional. He overreacted to certain sounds and fine motor skill weaknesses.
The biggest challenge for his father, Chong Wei Meng, was to get his 4-year-old son to talk and behave like other children of his age. His expressive vocabulary was limited and, most of the time, it did not make sense. Hence, he had difficulties expressing his feelings or understanding other people’s feelings.
Jin Hao had a short attention span and was hyperactive.
“The only thing he liked to do was watch television. So we allowed him to spend as much time as he liked in front of the television. When he was 5, I tried enrolling him in preschool, but two schools turned him away as they did not know how to handle him,” said Chong.
He was then recommended to try the movement-based learning approach to help his son. Almost two years into the programme, Chong says there has been tremendous improvement.
“The activities improved his expressive vocabulary, reading and writing. He can now communicate with others, understand instructions, is generally more obedient and likes to participate in activities.
“He is ready to be placed in the mainstream school system like others in his age group.”
While movement-based learning can help children with special needs, he says it will not be effective without support and commitment from parents.
It involves a lot of hard work and sacrifice, says Chong, who gave up his job as an accountant to focus on helping Jin Hao.
“Parents must be fully committed to help their children develop. You have to be involved in their learning process every step of the way. What the child does in the classroom alone is not enough. You have to take all that is taught in the classroom to your home and put it into practice daily without fail. Only then will you see results.”