Muhammad Mustafa Saleem
A world where everyone is running a never-ending race for success, often becomes a stampede for the few who fall short of its apparent standards of normalcy. Survival is tough and for most people, life passes by just struggling to get ahead of the curve trying to pay off their liabilities, and fulfilling their responsibilities.
In such a world, Mustafa Saleem (diagnosed with ADHD, Asperger’s as a child) is like that first drop of rain that follows a long drought, like the first leaf that rustles in the wind to signal a change. He is the stimulus that gave birth to something that goes far beyond the norms of providing education as a service. Every child is born different from the other, and every child needs a different treatment.
Enrolled at Asas International School in Islamabad from the start, Mustafa turned out to be very difficult for the teachers to handle, whatever they were trying just didn’t seem to get through.
Time passed and Mustafa’s future looked bleak in this ruthless world, but Asas never gave up.
In 2008, inspired by Mustafa’s condition, his school laid foundation to a project that is larger than life itself. A project called Asas’s Inclusive Educational Program (IEP), which emphasized that every individual is different and needs a different approach to learning.
The program focused on inclusively attending to every student, each student was assigned a physical therapist for making them comfortable as well as a shadow teacher to monitor their progress. This incredible new approach proved to be a revolution and with constant attention and determination of his teachers, Mustafa excelled.
It’s been nine years, today Mustafa has passed the 8th grade like any other regular student. Continuous support and love from everyone at school has discovered talents in him that are a treat to the eyes and mind. Mustafa has a somewhat photographic memory, and is particularly good with dates. He can tell you exactly what you did with him a year ago, and tell you what day it will be exactly 2 to 3 years from now on September 10th or June 30th in just a few seconds. All this talent hidden in a boy that the society marginalized, gives us a glimpse of the world that is hidden away in the minds of those who are never understood.
Today, 9 years after Asas started IEP, to Mustafa’s proud mother, it is more than just a school. To her, Asas is the light that has brightened up the life of her child. And his is not the only life illuminated by Asas’s program. His example, led the school to develop a full-fledged program and now many others like him have a shot at a better future.
Salaar was a hyper active child due to which he was unable to adjust with the mainstream kids. In a very short span of time with the help of behavioral interventions he is now able to attend main stream Class III independently. He has also learned to socialize with peer group in recess and games.
He is from Brunei Darrusalam. Initially he had a lot of behavioral issues and because of those issues he was unable to concentrate on his work. It was very difficult for to make him write. With the passage of time, through psychological interventions not only he has started to write but he has shown immense improvement in areas like socialization and emotional reciprocity. He started accepting new challenges and is now learning how to manage himself independently. He was made able to attend mainstream Class III with a shadow teacher who is a Clinical Psychologist by profession.
A student with profound hearing impairment was initially mute and did not speak a single word. After having intense speech therapy sessions, he is now able to communicate at one word level. He has also learned to communicate his needs through verbal and non-verbal cues and also following the mainstream course of Kindergarten. Not only this he can also independently read and write the course content.
He was mute when he joined ASAS. After a span of a year through continuous speech sessions he has been able to communicate appropriately at sentence level. He had behavioral issues with resistance to change in new environment, hitting other kids and spitting. With the passage of time through behavioral interventions he has adopted appropriate behaviors and his resistance for change has considerably decreased as well. He is now in the mainstream Playgroup with managed behavior.
There was a marked gap between her chronological and mental level. She was unable to differentiate basic alphabets. She has shown significant progress in academics as well as in areas like socialization and communication. She has acquired self-management, which is a landmark considering her initial state. She has initiated participation in co-curricular activities like Pakistan Day and role play activities. She has also shown marked improvement in activities like games and socializing with main stream kids during recess time. She is now following individualized plan for Kindergarten.
After thorough psychological sessions, he has been able to behave appropriately in different social situations. He knows how to communicate effectively with peers and authoritative figures. He is independently attending main stream Class VII, however following the individualized educational plan. Teachers are very happy with his progress.
He has shown outstanding progress in speech and social skills. Not only he has started to speak at sentence level but he can also operate at 2 sentences level and can answer complex questions as well. He participates in games with enthusiasm. He has acquired the skill of learning different sports in a very short span. He is following individualized educational plan for Playgroup.
Zain was introvert and lacked the confidence to communicate with teachers and peer group. With the passage of time through social skills training, he has started taking the initiative to talk by himself. Initially structure of the sentence was not appropriate. He is now operating at sentence level, considerable progress has been seen in his eye contact. He is active in sports as well. He has also initiated participation in mainstream class I.
There was a marked difference in his chronological and mental age but by following individualized educational plan, he is now able to read and write complete sentences. He has shown considerable improvement to behave appropriately in different social settings. He is able to introduce himself to others without any hesitation. He is attending mainstream Class I.
Initially she did not show compliance to the teacher’s instructions whereas now she follows the classroom decorum and complies to the instructions as well. She has started intermingling with the peer group as well. She has withdrawn the maladaptive behaviors and has adapted appropriate social behaviors.She shows keen interest in art activities and is attending main stream Class I.
He has shown improvement in speech. After detailed sessions with speech therapist, he has shown remarkable improvement and can communicate appropriately at sentence level. He is following individualized education plan of Kindergarten with trained teachers.