FORUM – PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY (PWD)

Interacting with the world or participating in certain activities may prove a challenge for people with disability. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t overcome and enjoy those challenges.

At this forum, visitors will hear heart-warming success stories of some PWD’s journeys through life and their love for scuba diving. There will also be a presentation on adaptive support divers and techniques, which will shed some light on the different types of divers’ disabilities.

We highly encourage able divers to attend this presentation to learn how they can assist PWDs to improve their underwater experiences.

Hj Syed Abd Rahman Syed Hassan

Ambassador Dive Heart Malaysia.

Founder and Director of Kids Scuba dive school in Malaysia. Hj Syed Abd Rahman Syed Hassan is the Ambassador Diveheart Malaysia, a PADI IDC Staff Instructor and and PADI Youth Diving Advisory committee based in US. Hj Syed is the Advisor for Standards and Ratings to the National Dive Council NDC Malaysia under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture MOTAC, he is  the Chairman for the ISO Recreational Scuba Diving Standards committee Malaysia,

He loves teaching and motivating Kids, Teens and Persons With Disabilities PWD  in the sports of Scuba Diving. His passion in the sport has motivated Hj Syed to start Kids Scuba in 2004. Scuba diving has changed his perception and awareness of the marine environment. His dedication and commitment to promote scuba diving for Kids, Teenagers, Orphan and Disabled Youth has earned him International Awards & Recognitions for Diveheart and PADI  Kids Scuba program since 2005 to date.

Dr Mastura Mahamed

Mastura is a senior lecturer at University Putra Malaysia. She is actively involved with advocacy work, particularly for the disabled community. She is currently serving as the vice president for Gabungan Anak-Anak Palsi Serebrum (GAPS) among others, and is involved in UPM’s mission to become a more inclusive university. Most recently she has been exploring adaptive scuba diving and have qualified to become a certified PADI scuba diver.

Dr Yew Chung Khian

Dr.Yew Chung Khian is a Master of Rehabilitation Medicine candidate at University Malaya Medical Centre. A graduate from Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy (NNSMA), Russia, Dr.Yew is also a Certified Medical Impairment Assessor (CMIA), and a physician at Exercise is Medicine Malaysia
(EIMM).

He specialises in restoring and enhancing functional abilities and the quality of life of those with physical impairments or disabilities affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves and musculoskeletal system. He believes that active physical activity and exercise is essential in preventing and treating diseases as well as improving functional independence in a person with disabilities (PWDs).

Dr. Yew is a qualified PADI open water diver, who is currently training for his advanced open water diver course. He is also a qualified PADI adaptive support diver, a Diveheart Malaysia volunteer, and advocates an active lifestyle in PWDs. He volunteers for adaptive diving and cerebral palsy frame football to empower and enable the PWDs to become more inclusive in society.

Dr Basri Husin

Basri Husin (PhD) has been a person with disability (PWD) since November 2014. However, this did not stop him from learning to scuba dive in April 2016. Under the watchful eyes of scuba instructor Syed Abdul Rahman Syed Hassan (Kids Scuba Malaysia) and his team, the experience gave Dr Basri the confidence and determination to undergo water therapy. Scuba diving became a source of motivation and support, where he’s been encouraging friends with PWD to give the sport a go as both a social activity and as a form of exercise. Dr Basri is currently the secretary for Malaysian Spinal Cord Injury Advocacy Association (MASAA), where he aims to empower and enable people with spinal cord injuries to become more inclusive in society.

Nazri Hamzah

Nazri has been scuba diving for two years. The sport has been a fantastic experience for him and many other disabled people, as the weightless environment allows the diver to experience freedom from whatever restraints they may face on land. Someone confined to a wheelchair can experience
almost extreme liberation while hovering weightless in mid-water.

According to Nazri, nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. And he should know. After losing his right leg to cancer, Nazri struggled with life. However, he never allowed his disability to define or restrict him. When his friends suggested scuba diving as part of his physical therapy, he dived right in and was hooked.

Nooraishah Arshad

After losing her right leg in 2013 to bone cancer, Aishah faced many challenges while adopting to the new changes in her life. 

Determined to live her best life, Aishah overcame many obstacles and has been a member of the Malaysia Amputee Paralympic Wheelchair Fencing Team since 2017. She also represents Malaysia in the Wheelchair Fencing Competition in Montreal and Jakarta.

When friends of hers suggested she include scuba diving as part of her physical therapy, she jumped right in. She fell in love with the feeling of weightlessness and freedom from the restraints of being in a wheelchair or on crutches. This quickly led to her gaining her PADI open water diver certification in 2019.

PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Instructor Course in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

Written by PADI Regional Manager, Neil Davidson.

PADI Regional Manager, Neil Davidson, recently arranged for a PADI Adaptive Techniques teaching workshop to be carried out in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. The Adaptive Techniques course aligns with PADI’s Healing and Wellness Pillar of Change which aims to inspire people to overcome adversity and use diving as a transformation to healing, both mentally and physically.

With the help of PADI Regional Training Consultant, Robert Scammell, and local Malaysian adaptive teaching expert Syed Rahman, the course was conducted over 2 days. The course trained PADI Members in the course standards, knowledge development, confined water skills and open water skills. These skills presented new challenges to a very experienced group of individuals as they had to simulate how to transport disabled divers on land and how to conduct a dive in both confined and open water.

Each course participant took it in turns to be a visually impaired, amputee, paraplegic and quadriplegic student, to ensure they felt the empathy of divers with these disabilities. Participants then had the chance to play the role of being the Instructor and Assistant Instructor to a disabled student. Throughout the course, all participants completed a range of skills allowing them to be certified as a PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Instructor.

PADI Course Director, Jason Orage, who attended the workshop commented:

“Once you were in the other persons shoes, you realized the importance of diving and how diving can be for everybody and not just the abled body”

“Experiencing albeit simulated a loss of a limb, senses and mobility showed the importance of clear communication, planning, and teamwork. This allowed us to see and feel what and how everyone can achieve if they follow their dreams to become a PADI Diver.”

The PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty course aims to increase diver’s awareness of varying abilities while exploring adaptive teaching techniques which can be applied when training and diving with physically and mentally challenged divers.

For more information on this course and how to get involved have a look at padi.com or contact your PADI Regional Manager.

In Pulau Perhentian, specially designed dive programme gives disabled Malaysians a confidence boost

Published by Malay Mail – Written by Melanie Chalil

PETALING JAYA, Oct 1 — A group of ten differently-abled children proved that disability is not inability in a special dive programme held at Pulau Perhentian recently. The students of Sekolah Kebangsaan Pendidikan Khas Kuala Besut were introduced to basic scuba diving skills such as breathing through a regulator underwater and finning technique.

They learned the basics in a pool at Mimpi Perhentian Resort at Terengganu’s Perhentian Island Kecil before moving on to a shore dive by the jetty for a dive experience unlike any other. Though the children were said to be shy at first, they quickly warmed up when they got into the water with their scuba buddies.

Organised by Diveheart, the international non-profit organisation founded in 2001, provides and supports educational scuba diving programmes for children, adults and veterans living with disabilities. Diveheart seeks to build confidence, independence and self-esteem through scuba diving, scuba therapy and diving-related activities.

“The difference in the confidence level of the children was like day and night, with a definite confidence boost after the exciting dive experience,” organisers said in a media statement. The Diveheart Malaysia team spent months raining for the event and putting together a team who were able to bring the experience of diving to the differently-abled.

Serving as a role model and inspiration to many, a deaf-mute certified divemaster Gary Goh who has logged more than 3,000 dives. Goh explained open water scuba techniques to the children using sign language. “I am thrilled to say that events like this does not only builds bridges between us but also reinforces our hope in humanity,” Diveheart Malaysia ambassador and Kids Scuba Dive Centre founder Syed Abdul Rahman Syed Hassan said.

“If all of us of different abilities can respect each other like this today, then we can really ‘imagine the possibilities’ for a better tomorrow.”

Goh was also joined by three young women, amputee Nooraishah Arshad, visually impaired Ereen Pasbullah and paraplegic Nurul Fathiah who went on multiple boat dives to take in the beautiful marine life that Pulau Perhentian is loved for.

Diveheart and Kids Scuba Malaysia have been training disabled divers since 2015 and trainings are held every month.

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