2022-2023 EVENTS

2022 Events

28 Aug - 01 Sep 2022
The International Surgical Week (ISW)
Kuala Lumpur

31 Aug – 2 Sept 2022
Medical Fair Asia
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

3-9 September
Medical Fair Asia
Digital, Online

9-10 September 2022
World Pediatrics Conference
Bangkok, Thailand

9-10 September 2022
World Heart and Cardiothoracic Surgery Conference
Bangkok, Thailand

19-21 September 2022
23rd SE-Asian Healthcare & Pharma Show
Kuala Lumpur

27-29 September 2022
Smart Healthcare Expo (Health Malaysia)

27-29 September 2022
Asia Pandemic Congress
Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre

19-20 September 2022
23nd Global Nursing Education Conference
Brisbane, Australia

30 Sep - 2 Oct 2022
Malaysia International Dental Show (MIDS)
Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre, Subang Jaya, Malaysia

7-9 November 2022
Saudi International MedLab Expo
Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center

7-9 November 2022
Saudi International Pharma Expo
Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center

11-13 November 2022
Eldercare Exhibition and Conference Asia (ELDEX Asia 2022)
Suntex Singapore Exhibition and Convention Centre

14-15 November 2022
Healthcare Asia Pacific
Osaka, Japan

2023 Events

30 May – 1 June 2023
KL Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur

13-15 September 2023
Medical Fair Thailand
BITEC, Bangkok

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Learning disabilities do exist, and are associated with significant difficulties in learning and acquiring specific academic skills. If overlooked by educators and family members as a character flaw rather than a genuine condition, it may lead to a host of other difficulties, especially as they grow to become adults, a clinical psychologist advises.

Learning disabilities (scientifically known as Specific learning disorder or SLD) is characterised by persistent significant difficulties in at least one or more academic skills such as reading (dyslexia), written expression, and/ or mathematical skills (dyscalculia). SLDs can co-occur with one another, and are associated with increased risk for both externalising and internalising behaviours. SLD comorbid with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is perhaps the most common.

“Experiencing persistent academic challenges in multiple academic areas can create feelings of anxiety, frustration, and shame, subsequently leading to low self-esteem and motivation. Receiving negative feedback from school, teachers, and parents may reinforce those emotions and negative self-perceptions,” clinical psychologist Helenna Hashim, who works at Mentem Psychological Services in Subang Jaya, said.

“If SLD is not identified and managed, children may continue to experience challenges in adulthood. The combination of academic and psychosocial challenges can create distress and increase the risk of school avoidance/ refusal, absenteeism, and/ or dropping out of school.

This can then influence career path, lower opportunities for employment, and limit career advancement,” she said further.

Due to the lack of information and awareness, many may not be aware of the symptoms of SLD. “Many parents may not know that their child’s academic difficulties may be associated with a neurodevelopmental condition. Symptoms often go undetected and may not be obvious until the child reaches school-age and when the demand of academic skills exceeds the child’s capacities. Therefore, SLD may not be the first thing that comes to mind.


According to Helennna, one of the key learnings that was brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic is the awareness of mental health. While this is a step in the right direction, there is still a gap that needs to be addressed which is stigma.

“Lack of dissemination of accurate information and raising awareness generally maintains stigma and attitudes among individuals at all levels, which includes the self, families, educators, professionals, administrators, policy and law makers,” she said. “Stigma and lack of awareness continue to undermine difficulties associated with learning, and may prolong barriers such as avoiding or delaying seeking professional help, limited financial allocation for research and services, lack of development and implementation of guidelines and procedures for individuals with SLD, and lack of evaluation of the effectiveness of these steps to ensure that both children and adults with SLD can achieve their fullest potential. Therefore, active participation and effective collaboration is needed.”

Society’s participation, according to Helenna’s opinion, should include: awareness campaigns and initiatives; encouraging early intervention; increasing financial investment in SLD research; improving teaching methods/ approaches in educational settings; improving guidelines, procedures and quality of educational programmes, as well as boosting accessibility to effective treatment and services.

Furthermore, Helenna said that training courses for educators can help them to recognise the common signs and symptoms of SLD and other common mental health conditions, acquire knowledge on guidelines and procedures to assist students with SLD, and equip them with skills on how to support students with SLD in achieving success in school.

“Parents are encouraged to learn about their child’s diagnosis for better understanding of the symptoms and the challenges that are associated with the diagnosis, and learn ways that they can support the child,” she said. Managing their expectations is also encouraged to alleviate the pressure placed on the child.

At Mentem Psychological Services where Helenna is attached to, assessment of SLD involves a combination of detailed clinical interviews, behavioural observation, reviewing school reports, and standard psychometric assessments of the child’s cognitive abilities and academic skills. “A comprehensive evaluation helps in confirmation of diagnosis, determining level of severity, and in planning the intervention,” Helenna said.

“As SLD is a lifelong condition, in ideal circumstances, a multi-disciplinary approach which includes a team of professionals, educators, school personnel, and family would be best,” she said. Educational psychologists can develop an individualised educational plan – or IEP – that is personalised to the child’s learning needs to succeed in school, and work collaboratively with educators, school personnel, special needs tutor, other professionals and parents on ways to implement strategies and support the child,” she said.

“Children with SLD often benefit from accommodations, modifications, and learning adaptive coping strategies,” Helenna said further. “An example of an accommodation would be providing additional time for assignments and examinations, while an example of a modification would be completing different homework than peers. These are aimed to reduce the stress associated with learning and provide the necessary support for the child’s needs in the educational setting. Accommodations and modifications may change over time as the child progresses and academic expectations change. Occupational therapists and/ or speech therapists can benefit the child by working on improving targeted skills.”

“Depending on the diagnosis and severity of the condition, referral to a psychiatrist may be helpful for symptom management. For non-academic related difficulties, such as internalising behaviours, externalising behaviours, and social difficulties, a clinical psychologist may be beneficial for the child. With early identification, intervention, and the appropriate support, children with SLD can make significant improvement in school and other important areas of life,” she said.

Generally, parents would bring their children to Mentem Psychological Services for assessment when they are referred by the school. Some parents would bring their child when they notice delays in their child’s developmental milestones and/or their child’s struggles with academic skills and learning.

Helenna said, SLD is a manageable condition and it is never too late to bring your child if he/ she is facing learning difficulties. “The sooner parents move forward, the sooner the child can learn how to empower him/ herself through understanding his/ her own strengths and abilities, and learning ways to manage the symptoms of SLD before it impacts his/ her school work and self-esteem. Early identification, early intervention, and appropriate support produces the greatest gain.”