Meet Nur Adilah Binte Basri, a Social Service Scholar whose profound interest in working with children and in the community led her to join the social service. She shares her story.
What sparked your interest in social service?
I have always been interested in working with children and in the community. Once, I encountered a preschool child with speech and language difficulties. She was lost and confused, but wasn’t able to express herself and clung to me in fear. It left a strong impression on me and piqued my interest in helping children with developmental difficulties.
Why did you choose to take up the Social Service Scholarship?
I found it beneficial to receive exposure to various sectors of social service and the opportunity to work directly with other professionals. I believe this close collaboration will help me grow more holistically and that my knowledge will not be limited to just learning from textbooks.
What drives you to do what you do?
When I see that what I do makes an impact on children’s lives. Over the course of my internship, I had the opportunity to gain experience working with students with Special Educational Needs (SEN) such as Dyslexia, ADHD, Autism, and Intellectual Disabilities. I met a Primary 1 student who refused to sit still in class and was distracting his classmates. After implementing some simple behavioural and learning strategies, he was motivated enough to sit through almost the entire lesson!
Besides passion, what other qualities do you think are needed to work in this industry?
I think you need to be compassionate and genuine in dealing with children and their families. Often, these families are encountering such challenges for the first time, and they are trying their best in their given circumstances. You need to take into account their perspective and acknowledge their progress. By establishing this strong rapport with them, positive outcomes can be achieved in time.
Everyone experiences setbacks. What motivates you to keep going whenever you feel that way?
Working with children with special needs is an immensely gratifying job. Sometimes it is hard to see the progress on a day-to-day basis, because it is so little or small. But these are important milestones, and when you look back, you will be amazed at how these little steps help them to take big strides in their development. Reflecting on each child’s progress and how they gain in confidence drives me to move forward.
How do your colleagues help you in your work?
It is easy to experience setbacks when you encounter various challenges in your work. However, having supportive colleagues who are there to spur you on, encourage you and provide ideas or advice is always a motivating force. When you know you are all in it together, it makes things much easier to cope with.
What advice would you give to those who are considering the social service scholarship?
Take the time to volunteer or try different experiences to decide if you are keen to do ground work. Take the time to network with people and do your research to know what you are getting yourself into. Working in the community will require a lot of hard and heart work.