Sitra Panirsheeluam

Sitra Panirsheeluam MBPsS completed her degree in BSc (Hons) Psychology, Middlesex University, United Kingdom and is a Graduate Member of The British Psychological Society (BPS)

During her college days in Malaysia, Sitra joined as an intern at the National Autism Society of Malaysia (NASOM) and Asian Research Center for Child & Adolescent Development (ARCCADE), UNICEF, Malaysia. She acted as a Mentor for selected schools in Petaling Jaya aimed to provide mentoring support for adolescents with social and emotional developmental needs.

Upon her return from the UK, she was interested in Special Needs in particular. Sitra started working for a reputable American company based in Malaysia and was trained in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) therapy which is the application of behaviour analysis that modifies human behaviours, especially as part of a learning or treatment process. Here, she worked with home and the centre based children diagnosed with Autism, aged 2-15 years-old and also as a school inclusion for few kids who were enrolled in school. She has experience working in various schools around the Klang Valley and maintained a good relationship with Children, Therapist, Teachers, Counsellors and Parents. Soon Sitra started conducting home based ABA therapy, peer-play and school shadowing independently. Sitra has observed and implemented strategies used by some well known Speech and Occupational therapists.

Sitra has a warm approach that enables children and parents alike to feel comfortable and empowered. She provides constructive guidance to parents/teachers and inclusions to help them support their children more effectively and was proven to be effective in the long run. Among the many achievements Sitra independently and as part of a team has accomplished:

  • Reaching a 2-year-old child who was diagnosed with PDD-NOS , had very limited vocabulary, no eye-contact and cried to communicate and helped to develop into the child she is today-one who no longer has a diagnosis, who excels in a mainstream environment, and who is extremely engaged socially with peers.
  • Application of ABA therapy, organized playdates to improve social skills, encourage friendships with peers and shadowed a child for 2 years, who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Integration Dysfunction,Hypotonia and a history of anxiety in new situations. The child now does no longer require Inclusion Support and is successful in a mainstream classroom. The child is also extremely active in sports and open to new challenges in life.
  • Managing to “fade out” as an Inclusion Support within a period of 6 months for a child who has Auditory Possessing Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Managing to implement School Readiness Program for children to enter mainstream schools
  • Providing Job Training Inclusion Support for teenagers with disabilities.
  • Establishing Awareness clubs for communities to understand and accept Autism
  • Applying “Social Thinking “ by Michelle Garcia Winner for students in mainstream schools
  • “Push –in and Pull-Outs” to work one on one or as a group
  • Managing Shadows and providing on job training /observations
  • Applying principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)  for children in a regular classroom and early intervention programs

Sitra believes that each child has his/her own capabilities and with proper intervention they can reach their highest potential by identifying their best skills and focusing on them. As important as teachers are in nurturing children, Inclusion Support Assistant’s with proper training are essential in ensuring children with special needs are given proper guidance and attention to achieve their highest ability. Sitra insists on the triangle affect; the school, parents and special educators/Professionals  are important for a child’s overall wellbeing and success. All three should have a common understanding and work towards the same goals for the betterment of a child.

Articles written to the newspapers:

  1. http://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/letters/2013/10/02/need-to-go-beyond-early-intervention/
  2. http://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/letters/2013/06/29/we-need-shadow-aides-first/
  3. http://www.thestar.com.my/news/community/2013/12/30/rare-outing-for-autistic-kids-mall-gives-them-a-treat-as-part-of-its-fifth-anniversary-bash/
  4. http://www.pressreader.com/malaysia/the-star-malaysia/20100315/284288181198803
  5. http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/04/19/government-urged-to-regulate-autism-therapy-centres/
  6. http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/08/09/autism-activists-we-need-more-screening-assessment-centres/