Saturday, 15 March 2008

RDA: Of Special Kids and Kissing Ponies...




9 year-old Rebekah Bakewell in front on Little Squaw, and behind her is 17 year-old Esther Pau on Landmark...They are doing exercises atop their horse-friends...All those walking are volunteers...




And finally, some photos of the RDA (Riding for the Disabled) that Jiun Wei and I go for every Wednesday!



As some of you know, the RDA is a therapeutic program meant for special people. It helps them in many ways psychologically, socially, emotionally and even physically...The program is practically fully sponsored (the kids pay a nominal RM 50 to encourage them to be committed) from the lessons, to the equipment to the horse 'renting'...






Special-education teacher Maria helping Rebekah with her helmet...




For one, these special people get to socialise with one another and with the not-so-special friends, and with an animal as grand as a horse! It also helps them tremendously in terms of posture, balance and confidence to do things on their own...






17 year-old Esther Pau, halfway through her Fish-o-Fillet burger, flashing a smile when I prompted...





9 year-old Rebekah Bakewell with her toy cars, stopping midway her game with me to pose for a photo...






Unlike last year's group of children (who were between the ages of 6 and 7), this year's batch is older, ranging from the youngest, 9 years-old to a 17 year-old...5 of them have Down Syndrome, while one is a slow-learner who has limited vision...Whatever it is, all of them are a darling in their own way!



It started raining halfway through the afternoon last Wednesday, so the result was an indoor-session with the kids...We used a wooden-horse (nicknamed the Earless Hairless Brownie!) and a plush horse for the session...What we basically did was help the kids get acquainted with the different body-parts of the horse, the equipment used, and ways to treat the horse, all indoors!






On left (seated) is Jean, a qualified horse-trainer with the Turf Club using a plush horse to communicate with the kids...Seated from left are Xin Ern, Rebekah, Esther and Bernice...Behind (in green shirt) is volunteer Shirley, and special-education teacher Maria (red shirt)...






Tiny Jean demonstrating how to mount a horse, using the Earless Hairless Brownie (nicknamed such because he has no ears, no hair, and he's brown!)...






Jean and special-education teacher Cindy Chan(half-hidden) helping Xin Ern balance on the wooden horse...




Altogether, it was another fruitful week, although I had a minor little accident with one of the ponies...He turned left at the exact moment that I turned right, and the result was a big-full-blown 'kiss'...It didn't help I had a mouth full of metal...



The result?

A badly bleeding lip, and a terrible swollen mouth...I now look like I tried the collagen-injected lip look aka some Hollywood stars...

Oh well, some guys find it ahem, sexy...*Winks*...

In retrospect, thank God I didn't fall and get trampled by the pony (it kinda panicked when it hit me)...







The pony whom I shared a kiss with...*Lol*






PS: If anyone would like to make a donation to the Penang Down Syndrome Association (PDSA), kindly contact me and I will help put you in touch with them...=)


23 comments:

U.Lee said...

Hi Daphne, girls like you, what you involved in, what you seek in life, your warm caring for people...don't grow on trees.
I am tremendously impressed with your devotion, warmth for kids and people on the whole. OUTSTANDING, Daphne!
By the way, just for your info, we have been buried with snow, ice since late November.
Forgotten what is the colour of grass as see white outside for so long.
The snow outside homes about 5' to 6' high as home owners shovel their driveways, their cars hardly visible inbetween the snow banks.
Spring is next week, YeeeeeHaaa! BUT! There will be a last, one for the road bad winter snow storm before we really chuck away our winter clothings.
You have a great day, Daphne, keep well, UL.

Anonymous said...

Hi Daphne my first time here and I agree with u.lee. Girls like you dont grow on tress. People like you dont grow on tress either. I am imprssed. Keep it up.

Mat Salo said...

Daphne, you amaze me.. I feel so ashamed that once I was neighbors with a family, Chinese btw, who had a daughter with DS, and I never lifted a finger to help. Being well to do, the mother herself went to open a school for similarly special children. Never did it occur to her the child was anything but normal. She loved her like any mother would. And she never did solicit anything for us. But I could've helped, maybe donated a little or something.. that's why I'm so ashamed. I have since moved...

Now when I next go home I should look the family up. Offer to help the school or something. Thanks.

Oh sorry, 'bout your comment on putting captions - I wanted to but I suspected some would prefer to remain anon. The famous ones you already know.

Eh, I jealous kat pony tu laa :)

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Uncle Lee,

Haha! Grow on trees, huh? I thought that was only refering to money! Hehe...=) I guess the key to 'giving' is to find a field that you enjoy...

Like I adore kids and animals, so I fit in just right...If you had asked me to volunteer in say, coaching poor kids to play football, I would have been quite lousy (don't like football)...

As for the weather in Canada, my aunts have been complaining of the same thing...It's like the weather went siao!

And the worse thing is yet to come...Can you imagine when the snow thaws? Everything will be wet and dirty :S...

You keep well too, Uncle Lee, and thanks for the updates...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Anon 10.48,

Thanks for coming by, and thanks for the compliment...=)

I will keep it up so long as I have the opportunity...It's a blessing, you know?

Thanks for sharing in this...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Abang Mat,

Nah, it's ok about the captioning...Was just curious about who's who, and so I scrolled and scrolled looking for names, but tarak!

You know, I think in many ways, it's our society...We are always taught to don't menyampuk, to 'jaga our own tepi kain', and to not make mention of anything that would hurt people's feelings...

And to have a special child, in many ways, is like taboo (thus the derogatory term 'anak cacat')...

When you see a special child, you are curious...It's human nature to want to know about something which is different, right?

But in our society, it is rude to ask or to look or to make mention...

As a result, our own ignorance is perpetuated, you know...

When I worked in the hospital, I was lucky that the people I worked with (the professionals) were always very 'commentative'...They always gave a running commentary on conditions etc...

So I learned that way...

So, it's not your fault...I was just luckier than you =)

Akmal said...

Hi D.
Had good days ya? :)
Salute D. Your kind is just too hard to find these days.
But we have lotsa crooks nowadays; and these crooks are gettin' serious with the idea of doing the crooks with children. Look what happened to Asmawi and Nurin?
Hey, I am totally agree when you said that the key to 'give' is to find the field we love. But another element is needed, the will to 'give', which, like you said, very much affected by environment...

Raden Galoh said...

Dear Sis,
I'm moved with your effort. Seeing the photos melts my heart away...

You definitely have a heart that grows bigger and bigger, and it doesn't grow on trees either... eh u.lee?

Daph, later I'll hear you shout similar tone like u.lee's...YeeHaaa when you roll on the snow...hehehehe (Arrrgghhh...I missed that moment!)

Jo-D said...

Daphe, you really are a darling la. See even the horse wants to kiss you than he panik that he stole a kiss! He He. Do all states in Malyasia have this program also?

Farina said...

kesian the kids tht it had to rain tht day. but im sure w u around, they had fun still.

looks like even the pony likes u ya? ;)

J.T. said...

Hi Daphne

How are your lips doing now? Hope you are feeling better. Did you get noticed? :D
By the way, I am so proud of you - you give up your free time for activities like this. *hugs*

Anyway, you have been tagged. I hope you don't mind. I usually leave tags open for volunteers but this one required me to name the people (cos' I had to say something about each person I tagged). :)

Please drop by my blog to pick up the questions.

Cheers!

Puteri said...

Haha, Daphne, you said no guy around, so a pony lor to give you a kiss! Haha! Too funny!

I love the pony and special kids project. What a special kind of therapy for the kids.

Keep up the good job, and stay away from ponies mouth! :LOL:

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

Hey, i love ponies too but...ehem,...rodeo riding is my forte.

hihi...

Nightwing said...

Hi Daphne,

Hope u r feeling better from the 'kiss'.

Thanks for sharing this and agree with Uncle Lee's statement 110%.

U keep on doing what u r doing.

Cheers.

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Akmal,

Yes, the crooks who harm kids nowadays are terrible...You know, they say that in prison, those who harm children are the most 'low' of all, and even the prisoners look at them with scorn...

I don't know how far it is true, but I sure hope it is...Gives you more hope that there is some hope left in this world...

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Aunty Dalilah,

My heart feels all warm and fuzzy too when I see those pics...Those lovely smiles are really so special huh?

As for screaming Yee-Haa! like Uncle Lee, soon, soon! But mine will be followed by an Ouch!, knowing what a clumsy-doink I am...Hehe...

You take care, Aunty Dalilah...

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Jo-D,

Haha...Yeah lar, the horse stole a forbidden kiss than panicked! Haha...

I was told he likes little girls *Ok, that sounds very wrong*...It seems cos they're gentler around animals, and well, he's tiny compared to the other horses, since he's a pony...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Kak Farina,

I pun ingat the day was wasted because of the rain...

As it turns out, the kids had a lot of fun too, indoors...I was too busy snapping photos that day to be honest, so I didn't do much...=(

Daphne Ling said...

Hey JT,

Oh yeah, I got noticed all right! I looked like I had lips that were yellow and like I was shedding skin like a snake!

Yeargh...;p

Yuck...Thank God it's over with and there's no lasting scar or ulcer...

As for the tag, if you don't mind, I'm gonna pass...I had a headache just trying to follow the questions...=(

Will email you...*Hugs*

Daphne Ling said...

Oh Jo-D,

Sorry, but I forgot to answer your question...

Yes, there are similar programs (RDA) in the other states in Malaysia...

I know, for a fact, that Penang and Ipoh have it...I am not sure about the other states, though...

You can always just call up the Turf Club in your area (if got lar) and enquire lor...

Sorry I can't be of more help =(

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Kak Puteri,

Yeah lor, so sad, had to settle for a pony instead of a guy...*Sigh*

Hehehe...

Oh well, what to do? We're about the same height...

I made peace with him just two days ago though...His name's Gundsynd, by the way...=)

He's handsome huh? *Winks*

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Kerp,

Yeah lar...Rodeo-riding...In Malaysia?!?!? Eh, you wrong country ler...

Anyway, me thinks we are all toooo big to sit on a pony...Poor thing will have a hard time bearing our weight...=(

Daphne Ling said...

Hi NightWing,

Oh yeah...Feeling much better from my little 'kiss'...Must be the most painful and bloody kiss ever! ;)

Thanks for agreeing with Uncle Lee...Haha! Beria-nya...

You keep well too...=)