Giving children with autism a fair chance in education

Guang screening

It was an evening to remember for 200 guests of Dika College and International Special Needs Children (ISNC) who attended a special screening of award winning film ‘Guang’ at GSC, 3 Damansara Shopping Mall last Wednesday.

The screening, aimed at creating greater awareness on autism, was made extra special with the presence of lead actor Kyo Chen and producer Sabrina Wong.

Kyo Chen, Guang
Kyo Chen with his fans at the special screening.

Chen, who recently clinched the Best New Actor award for his portrayal of Weng Guang in the film at the 13th Chinese Youth Generation Film Forum in Wuhan, China, said he accepted the invitation by Dika College and ISNC as he wanted to make a difference.

In the film, Weng Guang is a young man struggling with autism and who tries looking for a job to help his family but faces numerous obstacles. Unknown to those around him, however, he has a special gift for music.

“As actors, we have a chance to make a change and this is an opportunity to support a cause which affects many,” said Chen, 29, at the screening of the film.

“I am also glad the organisers decided to support a local film, he said, referring to Dika College and ISNC’s decision to embark on the special screening of the film which is part of a corporate social responsibility programme ahead of the school’s opening in January 2019.

ISNC is a special needs school which aims to help children between the ages of seven and 12 who have learning difficulties, behavioural challenges, issues with attention and other development disabilities.

ISNC is supported by Dika College, a pioneer in early childhood education and special needs education. The college provides support and knowledge to ISNC through a team of academics and industry experts. Dika College’s chief executive Pua Chee Ling and directors Dr Sim Quan Seng and Low Lay Har are also the three co-founders of ISNC.

Wong said she hopes the film, which is set in Kuala Lumpur, will increase awareness on autism and how it affects people.

Dr Sim said the special screening of the film was for their guests comprising business associates, vendors and college students as they want more people to be enlightened about autism and to experience the real struggles faced by them and their families.

“We hope to spread similar awareness when our school opens next month,” he said, adding that profits generated by the school will be channelled back into research and development for people with special needs.

Low said people should take the cue from the strong message in the film that those with special needs are intelligent but may find it difficult to fit into society.

“The movie certainly touched me and it shows that those who are not special have to be more understanding and should never look down on those who are not like them,” said Low.

Pua said ISNC will act as a one-stop centre for academics and therapy for children with special needs.

“It is a challenge for parents to find a one-stop centre which caters for both academics and therapy for children with special needs and we are here to offer this solution.

“We aim to help these children become independent so they will be able to integrate with the community.”

Those who watched the film during the special screening said it was a brilliant film to create more awareness on autism.

Mok Choon Keat, an investment management adviser, said he has never dealt with anyone with autism and never knew how challenging it is for them.

“I’ve always known that we have to treat them with respect but after watching this film, I realised we have to really understand those with special needs better.”

“I would not have watched the film had ISNC not organised this special screening,” he said, adding that the film has certainly inspired him to learn more about those with special needs.

Human resource executive Jasmine Manuel, a special needs educator for the past 16 years, said many do not know the real struggles faced by families of those with special needs.

“I was touched by the movie as it really made me laugh and cry … the lead actor has certainly done a lot research to get into his role.

“This screening is an opportunity for many to learn about the everyday challenges faced by those with special needs and how there is a need to understand them better,” she added.