Grandmother’s stories

•March 16, 2011 • 2 Comments

I think I have aged a lot over the past few years. I’ve always suspected it but I’ve also always denied it. But I think I am.

I’m a nagger. I nag a lot. I can nag from 8am-5pm. If my work requires longer hours, I would have nagged a lot more.

I nag when the parents didn’t do the work.
I nag when the parents didn’t finish their work.
I nag when the parents did the work wrongly.
I also nag when the parents did the work well, to make sure they continue to do well.
How ironic!

And poor parents…if they have weekly session, they will have to endure for at least 3 months of my weekly nagging. And I can nag about the same thing week after week, session after session.

If I can earn each time I nag, I would be a millionaire by now.

I can’t believe I just posted an entry on how much I nag.


The year 2010

•January 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Every 2 months, my church in KL would ask for prayer request to be posted in their prayer letters. In the end year of 2010, I decided to reflect on my year instead. And this is what I wrote.

The past month has been very hectic and stressful. The end year always is trying with many admin work to keep tab on, and some patients keep cancelling and changing appointment in my already packed schedule. Every morning, I pray for strength and reminder of His goodness. He always re-energises me, but sometimes, it’s a struggle for me to keep remembering Him when work becomes overburdening.

As I reflect in the past month, I realise that I have been too performance-based. And I feel frustrated when my children don’t progress as much as I think they can. Perhaps it is a time to pause and remember that they parents and children and that my real focus is to be Him.

Sometimes I feel helpless as to what to do with some severe patients. But God never fails to remind me that each of them are special and His love is overflowing through us. To be able to help them a little brings much satisfaction, even though they may not show much progress. The hope of these parents in their children helps to keep me going.

Thank you for continue to be on this journey with me.

The year 2011 crept in without me noticing….and it’s again the time for preparing and submitting statistics and reports of the past year. So much work! But as always, God has a way to keep me hanging by his grace.

A summary of the report:
Total patients seen in 2008 – 1088
Total patients seen in 2009 – 1272
Total patients seen in 2010 – 1540

While the number of patients seen should increase, I wonder if the quality suffers from it. Nevertheless, I know I’ve tried my best and though I complain a lot about the parents, they do encourage me a lot.

To another eventful year in 2011 =)

Happy New Year!

Longing for the blissful look

•May 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Recently, I uploaded a picture of me and ‘my’ dog as my profile picture on Facebook. It was really a very nice picture as I had a really blissful look on my face as I hugged ‘my’ dog. A few had commented on this picture but one friend, who was my junior in the university really made me think with her comment.

“No…i think i’ve seen this kind of blissful look before…when i observed ur clinic session and your kid did well =)” (That was way back in university, about 5-6 years ago.)

Do I still have this blissful look anymore now that I’m going into my 3rd year of working?

New Year….

•January 10, 2010 • 2 Comments

Thanks to a friend, knocking on my blog’s door, I have nearly forgotten its existence. Excuses for not updating – tired, busy, not up to it, etc. It’s not that there’s nothing to write about. It’s the same story of parents’ dilemma, poverty, hardship. Just different set of parents. It’s the same tiredness at work. Just different days. In short, I’m afraid I might become a tiresome recorder.

1. Taiping is still raining.

2. My doggy is growing bigger, cuter, more adorable, but less naughty. Growing in the right way! Thanks to wonderful upbringing. Haha!

3. Patient-load has increased (what’s new?). Waiting list has now stretched to 11 months. I’m not proud of it. But I don’t know what to do about it. In 2008, I saw 1088 patients. In 2009…..(drum roll…..)… 1272 patients. And that’s 11 months of work cos I was away in HKL for the whole month of February.

4. Yes….still no sign of another speech therapist coming to share the burden cos nationwide is short.Life and work still go on

5. We are starting an early intervention centre for the children with learning difficulties, led by a group of parents here in Taiping. We have had several meetings and things are progressing. They have found a place, some sponsors and candidates for teachers. Now working on registration of the society. It’s pretty exciting. And I’m very encouraged by their enthusiasm. My role in this – is to supply parents to the meeting, open my clinic as their meeting place and offer some opinions every now and then. I’m just playing a passive role.

6. Trying out new strategies in therapy i.e. group therapy and more parents’ discussion meetings.

7. Still getting frustrated at some parents and staff but am more patient in dealing with them. Humility is an important lesson I’ve learned in 2009 and am still learning. Humble pie is becoming a staple diet.

8. Jaded, lethargy, frustration, loss of enthusiasm every now and then. But I still love my children and see a reason to continue on.

9. Many friends are applying for transfer. Am expecting that by middle of 2010, many would have left. Need new friends for lunch.

10. Most commonly asked question (besides “When is your turn to get married?) – “Still in Taiping?” and “Are you asking for a transfer to Ipoh?”. Yes and No respectively. I have my own plan and time frame. Besides, I still have a lot of things I want to do and learn in Taiping. I believe it is not my time to leave yet.

One thing that will never change –  still finding and depending on God’s grace and mercy, both in work and life.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Doggy Therapy

•September 27, 2009 • 2 Comments

Last weekend, I had a chat with my sister about how pets can be very therapeutic for the elderly and the special group. I didn’t think much about it, till I had a session with ZQ two days ago. I decided to invite him, together with his mum and sister, for a doggy play session.

Let me introduce the two main characters here.

ZQ is a 9-year-old boy with autism. He’s totally non-verbal. I have been seeing him for more than a year now, and we are using PECS for his communcation. PECS has done a lot of wonders for him. ZQ is one child who can use PECS almost anywhere and with anyone. His parents are very happy, because at least, they can know what he wants, and he can tell them what he wants.

Happy is a 5-month-old toy poodle. Some of you may know of her existence, most of you don’t. She actually belongs to  my housemate, but I would like to take half ownership of the dog as well. She’s very energetic, smart (too smart), naughty, friendly likes to bite bite and lick, attention-seeking (too much), adorable and fluffy. Happy pounces on the sofa when we sit down. She follows a.k.a. runs wherever we go.

And so ZQ’s entourage came to my house at 11.30am on one fine Saturday morning. I should mention that, usually, for pet therapy, people use dogs that are calm. Happy, by nature, is not calm at all. I had to hold her still and keep her calm for the initial first 15 minutes. After that, when I let her loose, I was very very surprised at her reaction towards ZQ.

Happy was actually very calm and constantly gauging ZQ’s reaction towards her. She was not her usual bouncy self. And ZQ actually engaged Happy to play. They were both very curious about each other. At the end of the video, ZQ came over to me to see what I was recording.

A lot of times, ZQ just stood at the window, or the glass door to look at the view. And Happy would stand about 1 metre away and watch him. When ZQ moved, Happy would follow at a distance. With the owners, Happy would be so excited that we would often trip over her. What a vast difference in Happy’s treatment  towards us and ZQ

I think Happy is as good to ZQ as ZQ is to Happy. I will be looking forward to inviting ZQ to my house more often for more doggy play.


•September 25, 2009 • 2 Comments

Sometimes, some text messages can really make your day. Like this one, that I received from a mother of a 3-year-old child with autism.

Hi Ms Annie im SZ mum. my son miss u so much. can u pls arrange new date 2 c u?

Two days later, SZ’s mother dropped by my clinic to get a date (pun not intended….hehe). She told me her son refused to go to school. Instead, he wanted to come to the hospital everyday to see me.

That’s awfully sweet…..

Catching up

•September 12, 2009 • 1 Comment

I admit, that my missing-from-my-blog has something to do with disillusionment and lethargy with/from my work. I have been bombarded with so many things that I didn’t know what to write. I also didn’t have the energy to explain.

Maybe work has become a routine. Maybe I’m losing some of my passion. Maybe I’m disillusioned.

A few days ago, when I was in a restaurant for lunch, a lady approached me and asked, “Hi, do you still recognise me?” She looked oddly familiar but I couldn’t place a name to the face.

The lady then told me, “I am SH’s mother.”

Ah…..that reminded me of who she was. SH is a girl with hearing impairment. She lives in Parit Buntar. I first saw her for therapy in early 2008.

In the initial few sessions, SH was able to speak but mostly single words. She was 6 years old. Her mother was constantly worried about her as she seemed to lack confidence. She would be scolded/hit by kindergarten teacher, for ‘refusing’ to do work. She hardly spoke to anybody except for family members.

As she was already 6 years old, I counselled SH’s mother to enrol her into a sign language school taking into account of her language inadequacy and academic needs. Her mother was open to the idea, but the rest of the family members were opposed to it, as SH could speak. They were afraid that SH would stop speaking after learning to use signs.

We went through a lot of family counselling – the child’s future, family problems, fear of child’s speech development, schooling options, society expectations, etc. The nearest sign language school is in Taiping, which means travelling 2 hours each day to get to and fro school.

SH’s mother finally took a bold step – and defied all family’s expectation and opposition. She sent SH to SK Pendidikan Khas Taiping. After enrolling into school, SH stopped therapy with me.

So, it was a pleasant surprise to meet SH’s mother again.

“Thank you so much for advising me to send my daughter to this school. She is now so confident and happy! She score first in class in every exam. Her teachers in school are so caring and wonderful. And she is still speaking a lot. I really have you to thank for!”

I was speechless for a moment. Sometimes, one little decision could make a tremendous change to a child and her family’s lives. And I was glad to be part of such a positive change.

Sometimes the past will catch up with you. I needed this past very much, to remind me why I’m in this job, why I’m doing what I’m doing, and most importantly, to reignite the passion that I have for my vocation.

I should be the one thanking SH’s mother.