Nine-year-old Mohamad Daniel Mohamad Yussof recently won 3rd place in the 4SYC speaking competition for his impassioned speech on COVID-19 vaccines
The competition was organised by Sabah English Aspiration Society (SEAS) from 9 to 11 April.
According to the SEAS Facebook page, the 4SY public speaking competition for children aged seven to nine-years-old is an event held for rural school children in Sabah.
The competition was held online this year with participants sending in four-minute videos of them presenting their speeches.
Mohamad Daniel began his speech by introducing himself as being diagnosed with the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and preferring homeschool compared to normal school.
He then proceeded to give an informative and impassioned speech about how COVID-19 vaccines work.
"There is no vaccine for kids."
"So adults, please listen carefully to my talk because this topic is related to you and how your decision on the COVID-19 vaccine will affect us, the kids," Mohamad Daniel urged.
In his speech, Mohamad Daniel advised adults to take the COVID-19 vaccines in his speech. He began by sharing several facts about the vaccine — one of them being that vaccines do not cause autism.
His most powerful statement throughout the speech was that "there (are) no vaccines for kids". He said that decisions made by adults regarding receiving the COVID-19 vaccine would affect children.
The youngster gave an enlightening explanation about how the body would use the vaccines in order to fight the virus.
"When a doctor injects the COVID-19 vaccine into our body, an unfamiliar COVID-19 virus will be detected by our immune system," he explained.
He added that phagocytes — which are cells found in our white blood cells — will attack the COVID-19 virus injected into the body.
"By consuming the COVID-19 virus, phagocytes gain data on (the virus) and transmit the data to the lymphocyte," he said in the video uploaded on Facebook.
He went on to explain that the T-cell lymphocytes would then research ways on how to eliminate the virus while B-cell lymphocytes would produce proteins called antibodies to help fight and protect the body against COVID-19.
Mohamad Daniel's mother said that she hoped that her son's participation in the competition would create awareness of stereotypes surrounding autistic individuals
According to New Straits Times, his mother, Lizawati Aman thanked SEAS for giving her son an opportunity to compete with neurotypical contestants in the competition.
"April is Autism Awareness Month. I hope my son's participation in this competition can improve his focus, English proficiency, public speaking skills and knowledge of what other people do in the real world," she said.
Mohamad Daniel came in third place while eight-year-old Marion Rays Samuel from SK Perancangan Ranau brought home the top prize. Meanwhile, seven-year-old Shane Hikialani Wong made second place.
SEAS also awarded Aimyra Badrina Aimizal and Nadya Ezzara Azmi for the Promising Award. Sanjanaa Kanthan was gifted the Courage Award.
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