When nine-year-old Zaakir Rahmat smiles, his radiance lights up the room even though the shy boy often hides his smile behind his hands.
He talks softly and his words are slurred due to global developmental delay and quadriplegic cerebral palsy, which results in muscle stiffness and difficulty in stretching parts of his limbs. His condition has caused significant impairment in the development of his cognitive skills, communication and socialisation skills. He is also unable to walk and relies on a wheelchair to move around.
Despite these challenges, Zaakir is a cheerful boy. There are many little things in life that make him happy – the mini LEDs on his wheelchair’s rollers that light up when he moves; the Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber pop ditties which he ‘dab’ to; and his art classes with teacher Ms Eunice Choo.
Zaakir’s love for art was apparent when he showed us his sketchbook that was filled with line drawings of policemen catching thieves and helping the needy. He hopes to be a policeman some day.
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