Monday, 4 November 2013

Ending on a Mixed Note - 31 Oct 2013

I think it's time to update about Ken, the boy that I had shared in my earlier post, Misconceptions about Down syndrome. I've observed and guided him for about 7 months as a volunteer at PKIK. It was a learning journey for me, full of little discovery here and there. 

I've to put aside my academic plans. Ken has no speech and poor motor skills. So in a classroom setting, we do mainly activities that help with his fine motor skills. These are movements to the hands, wrists, fingers, feet, etc in coordination with the eyes. They are smaller actions such as throw/catch balls, kick/pass balls, squeezing balls, using a pair of scissors to cut, using a pencil to write carefully and other tasks that occur daily.

I usually put a surprise toy inside a paper bag. Ken would use the scissors to cut open the bag, but even if the toy drops out halfway, he would still continue cutting until the bag is completely separated.

Ken is not very keen in arts, especially if it gotta use pencils or brushes. So I experimented with marble painting. Placed some water colour paints onto paper in tray, put some marbles in it, and he has to tilt tray to roll the marbles through the paint to create an abstract design.

Ken was more receptive to this activity, he didn't think of it as arts. He thought he's rolling the little balls. After 3 paintings, I began to take notice of the marble effects. What did they look like to you? Yea, the seasons - at least I saw them that way. So for the last painting, I purposely gave him paints with a winter tone. And look at the amazing results!!

I was so proud of Ken, and he showed me that he's pleased too, yes, that's something uncommon because he rarely expressed any response except when playing with balls. He then even helped another student to do the same thing, he's so proud he could 'teach'.

Mixing around with others is not easy for Ken. He's a loner and isolates himself socially even at home. This area we're still waiting for a breakthrough.

Ken is able to follow classroom routines - he likes listening to songs and playing with the triangle.

For the first time, we managed to coax him to do some dance movement with the teacher. It looked like he's warmed up a lot after his "4-season" masterpieces. He felt shy when we gave him more attention, which showed to us that he has the same feelings as any other child!

Thus, this is my last session at PKIK for this year. Come next year, I am anxious to see the students, and any sign of progress from them is indeed worth the time.


  1. The marble painting is really something, glad that Ken enjoyed himself :)


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