My Inspiring Journey or in short - MIJ Special education hub was established in 2011. We first started with 15 students in a small storeroom at the back of a mosque. And today, we are humbled to be serving almost 300 individuals with learning differences. Namely, Autism, ADHD, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome and Developmental Delay.
Realizing the education gap for individuals with learning differences aged 18 and above, MIJ then set-up two different programs, the Weekend Special Education Program (WE-SPED) & Adult Special Education Program (A-SPED) to focus on intervention, social skills, behavioural management, and moral values.
These 300 Individuals, ranging from age, 4 to 30 years old are now a part of 6 different Special Education programs provided by MIJ. They are being served at 3 centers located across Singapore - Changi Road, Jurong, and Woodlands.
The school was first founded by Husband & Wife, Mohammad Ali Dawood and Faraliza Zainal.
It began when Ashraf, at the age of 18 months, was diagnosed with a rare disease, tuberous sclerosis. The disease caused a benign tumor to develop on a vein leading to his brain. This restricted blood flow, and a doctor warmed that Ashraf might start experiencing seizures. “And true enough, at two years old, he had an epilepsy attack,” she said. The fits, sometimes three a night, kept them up at night. Then their problems snowballed when Ashraf turned three.
He was diagnosed with autism and sensory integrated dysfunction, a condition that makes it difficult for him to feel his body’s limits. Said Mr Ali: “At one stage, he wouldn’t stop eating until he vomited. He couldn’t feel that he was full.” Mdm Fara admitted: ‘‘I was in denial for two years. I couldn’t accept it.”
It wasn’t until a religious teacher told her that God had given her Ashraf “because he knows that you are the only one who can bear and raise him”, that she finally embraced the situation.
She gave up her corporate career and learned how to be a special needs educator. She threw herself into learning about autism by taking up short courses on behavior management, alternative therapy, and movement therapy. She found that Ashraf responded best to the last.
When MIJ began in 2011, it offered only weekend classes. They soon had 15 students, with Mdm Fara as the sole teacher, training her charges’ motor skills through movement therapy. Finding a space to run classes was the biggest initial hurdle. They encountered numerous rejections before Sultan Mosque agreed to let MIJ have a space. Word soon travelled. After a local newspaper featured us, MIJ found itself rapidly growing. The school filled a gap in services for special-needs students in the community.
Each student is unique in his own way and needs to be provided with a safe, caring and stimulating environment to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically spiritually and socially. Educators demonstrate a commitment to ensuring a safe and supportive environment so that these students develop to their maximum potential, based on their individual strengths and challenges.
MIJ's educators are trained in the area of Early Childhood and Special Needs. The language medium used is English.
With a psychologist on board, Ms Wendy Choh, MIJ is able to provide an all-rounded assessment of students' developments as they gradually embark on their learning journey.
MIJ Special Education Hub is a registered member of the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE). MIJ's student care is also an administrator of the Student Care Fee Assistance (SCFA) by Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).