Jan-Mar 2022: Hani Zohra Muhamad

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Hani Zohra Muhamad


Lead Educational Therapist and Educational Advisor, Hani joined the Dyslexia Association of Singapore in 2006 and has over the years been teaching and working with students with dyslexia and other co-morbidities. She contributes to the training and mentoring of new educational therapists, as well as support colleagues with challenging students.

Why did you choose to work in the field of SpLD?

Truth be told, I did not choose to work in the field of SpLD. It just happened. In retrospect though, my aunty always brought me to her school where she works with children with Downs Syndrome, when I was a young child. After graduating with a BSc Management degree, my first ‘real’ job was as a teacher-aid for students with Autism. A few years later, I saw a teaching job vacancy at the Dyslexia Association of Singapore. I applied for the position, was given the job and here I am after 14 years.

What is one thing that never fails to make you smile in the work that you do?

In these 14 years, besides being blessed with wonderful colleagues, I have also had the opportunity to work with students of various profiles and personalities. Colleagues make me laugh when I am down or upset but my students’ antics never fail to put a smile on my face. No matter how cheeky or exasperating they may be, there is always something endearing about them. I could have been angry with them but moments later they would make me smile or laugh.

What do you think is the most important quality/value/belief a person must have when working in the field of Special Education?

To be working in the field of SpEd, I think one needs to believe that children with SEN (special educational needs) can learn and achieve success in the right environment and when guided by the right professionals and paraprofessionals. I find a quote by Feuerstein very apt here – “If you are not prepared to look at your pupils strengths, don’t touch their weaknesses”. Moreover, Feuerstein had stated that intelligence is not fixed; it is modifiable. Hence, it is important to believe that students with SEN can receive learning albeit in different ways.

Therefore, should a person possess special qualities to work in the field of SpEd? I personally do not think so. However, one should be hardworking if one is new and has no knowledge of this industry and its education aspects. Working hard will lead one to hone his/her skills to be a better educator/educational therapist. Patience is overrated in this industry. No doubt one has to have patience when teaching or working with students with SEN. However, it is also important to possess empathy, understanding and mindfulness towards this group of people.

What is the one thing you would do to improve special education in your country?

I think there is greater awareness on SpEd in Singapore today. If I can do one thing to improve it, it is to encourage the public and companies to donate to various SpEd causes, especially those that may not receive much funding from the government sectors.

What motivated you to become a RETA member and how has it benefitted you?

I am a staff of DAS thus, being a member of RETA has allowed me to access to various talks that RETA organizes. These talks have benefited me as they are relevant to my areas of work.

What advice would you give someone who has special educational needs or lives/works with people with special educational needs?

My advice is to discover and know your strengths. Work towards sharpening those strengths. Find schools or jobs that are conducive to help bolster learning, enhance skills, as well as develop competencies that will enable you to thrive in the real world.