Daniel with some of the soft toys he makes in his spare time when not at KFC
Daniel is a lovely, handsome young man and at 26 years has worked for KFC at Seremban2 six days a week for two and a half years.
His dad Clarence usually drops him off at work and picks him up when he finishes his shift as he works from home.
His mum Crispina, who commutes daily to Cyberjaya, introduced me to Daniel during a lunch break from KFC but not before I observed Daniel at work through the open glass restaurant.
He is the human equivalent of a dynamo, full of energy and doesn’t appear to stop.
Busily mopping the floor he looks up to see a customer walking towards the wide glass doors and he immediately drops the mop into the bucket, opens the door, and welcomes the customer with a nod.
Before the door has closed he has thrown the rubbish from two empty tables into the bin and has begun to clean the “help yourself” sauce area that has become messy.
“The job suits Daniel,’ smiles proud mum Crispina “he is very structured and detailed, tell him what to do and he will do it, to the T.”
Bang on lunchtime Daniel leaves KFC and joins us at a table in the food court outside – you wouldn’t know it but Daniel has autism.
SOME OF DANIEL'S PAINTINGS
I read once that most parents plan to raise their children for about 18 years or a little bit more, then send them on their way for 30 years and then hope they come back to help them as they themselves age and require more care.
‘Special needs’ parents must plan to raise their children for perhaps 65 years and while doing so also have to prepare for the other 20 years or so of life their child may live, long after they have gone themselves.
Daniel is the second of four boys for Clarence and Crispina, and one of two that is autistic. Daniel’s older brother 28 year-old Alvin also has autism but unlike Daniel is slightly anti-social and cannot work unsupervised.
Both Daniel’s younger brothers, William and Nicholas, are studying at University.
“My boys are my heroes,” says Crispina, watching as Daniel puts down his fork and scrolls through his mobile phone to show me some pictures he has drawn, wonderful vibrant and colourful drawings, as well as pictures of the soft toys he has made.
“Most nights after work Daniel will come home, have a nap, then start drawing or do some painting, make the soft flannel toys or play video games for two or three hours, then he will go to sleep,” says Crispina.
“In his spare time he shops at Daiso to find the small components for the soft toys he makes, he’s always making toys.”
HOW DANIEL GOT TO WORK AT KFC
Persatuan Berdikari Seremban Negeri Sembilan (PBSNS) in Bukit Chedang
Daniel is one of the many success stories to come from Persatuan Berdikari Seremban Negeri Sembilan (PBSNS) a society registered in 2008 to provide job skills training to people with learning disabilities which was previously known as Pusat Berdikari Seremban and has been administered by the Wesley Methodist Church Seremban, since 1998.
The training facility has five staff and volunteers who assist trainees of whatever background and faith between 18 and 40 years old, who are assessed on application to meet certain conditions of entry.
An assortment of products made and sold by the centre includes handmade wine bottle bags, gift packages small handy bowls for knick knacks, place mats and original gift cards.
Aunty Kate who is the arts and crafts tutor for PBSNS says “ that every year about 10 to 20 applicants are assessed to enter our training centre" and from there will often move to disabled-friendly businesses like McDonalds and KFC as well as some factories that support special needs workers.
“Here the trainees are taught straw packing, art and handicraft techniques as well as bakery and café skills from which they can garner a small, regular income.”
PBSNS trainees packing straws
The training centre is a hive of activity the day I visit with 30 plus trainees packing the straws or recycling the collected paper and cardboard into unique gifts that are sold on at fairs and stalls.
One man is drawing a beautiful black and white pencil portrait of Billy Graham and another is rolling paper around a bamboo sate stick to curl it into shape. Young ladies are making tablemats from the recycled paper and others are recycling goods making birthday and celebration cards.
Quality control checking straws
During assessment at PBSNS the most proficient trainees will be sent to disabled-friendly businesses, like KFC, McDonalds and factories to be assessed by those companies on their skill levels and capabilities as Daniel did almost three years ago.
As well as making gifts and goods they also run the Chedang cafe selling coffee, tea, milo, baking goods and a really tasty nasi lemak, either bungkus or sit down.
Daniel’s graduation from PBSNS saw him offered a job at KFC after a successful trial there and you could say he has “not looked back” but that is not so true as Daniel remembers his friends and teachers, regularly visiting to just chat or have a drink in the café that still has some of his paintings adorning the walls.
If you can assist PBSNS by buying some of their originally made cards or knick knacks give them a call, they are delightful gifts and a worthwhile purchase that ends up helping others.
As well as PBSNS there are other schools and facilities helping special needs children that offer a variety of occupational therapies and treatments including, sauna, schooling, yoga, aqua therapy, swinging and music.
Call them or the other facilities listed below for more details about treatments and assessments.
PBSNS + 606 763 2005
The Play Project Mahavidya Inner Health HP-014 637 5067
Louis Centre HP-018 203 0085
Chrysalis HP-012 913 0461
According to Disability Scoop, an American national developmental disability news site covering autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, intellectual disability and more, the number of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has reached 10%, a significant increase during the past 20 years according to their study released last week.
Read the link here: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2018/09/04/percentage-adhd-nearly-doubles/25445/