UNICEF in action
In Malaysia, UNICEF is working with the Government and civil society to protect the rights of children with disabilities and to ensure a “protective environment” free from violence, abuse and exploitation.
Our programs, past and present, are focused on advocacy for child protection rights; technical assistance and capacity enhancement; applicable research and analysis; as well as public information and awareness. Projects we have engaged with and supported include:
Individual Education Plan
The web-based Individual Education Plan (IEP) for children with special needs was developed and piloted in 62 schools in 2010 and will be scaled up in 2011. The IEP will benefit over 20,000 students with special needs. With the IEP, each child can learn at his/her own pace according to his/her skill base and individual capacities. In 2010, 160 teachers and teacher trainers were trained in IEP.
Early Childhood Intervention
In line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child which upholds that all children have a right to education, including children with disabilities, UNICEF backed the 3rd National Early Childhood Intervention Conference in 2010. The program provided an important platform for Malaysian civil society to create a national network of advocates for early childhood intervention and inclusive education.
Sports and Disability
Sport plays a critical role in the health and well-being of children with disabilities as it helps to rebuild their confidence, gives them a sense of security, and boosts their physical and psychological rehabilitation. It also helps change attitudes toward them and combats discrimination. In Malaysia, UNICEF is engaged with the British Council and UNICEF UK for the International Inspiration program, the National Paralympics Council for the 2010 Malaysian Special Olympics; as well as state-level initiatives with the Sarawak Palaympic Council.
M-CHAT to Detect Autism
UNICEF and the Ministry of Health developed a new screening tool to provide parents and doctors a quick way to assess a child’s mental health. It involves a checklist of 23 questions that measure signs of autism. The 2007 pilot program also trained medical professionals – including psychiatrists, paediatricians, therapists and nurses – on identifying and following up with children who may be autistic.
Sexual Health and Disability
UNICEF aided in the initiation of the plan of action in tackling the sensitive issue of sexual and reproductive health for children and adolescent with disabilities. This included support towards the development of a National Plan of Action, the drafting of the Live Life Stay Safe training modules, support for training equipment. The pilot program included training for some 30 professionals the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and the Department of Social Welfare to provide care to children and adolescents with special needs.