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Identifying Needs of The Autistic

THERE is still a lack of available and affordable intervention on autism in Malaysia.Former deputy women, family and community development minister Hannah Yeoh said autism awareness month (in April) ought to be celebrated and recognised by all parties.

“When I was in Putrajaya, we encountered a situation that sparked national uproar over the detention of a person with autism.

“After the incident, the ministry together with the police, successfully completed the ‘SOP Autisme: Garis Panduan Untuk PDRM’ and launched it on March 25, 2019.

“This new standard operating procedure serves as a guide to help the police when they are faced with a situation that involves a person with autism,” she said at the launch of Headstart Academy Damansara at Glo Damansara Mall in Kuala Lumpur.

Headstart Academy Damansara, founded by Khairul Ramly, a parent of an autistic child, is a centre that provides an Early Intervention Programme (EIP) for special needs children.

This is the second location after Headstart Academy Shah Alam in SACC Mall that opened in 2019.

“There is a lot of work to be done.

“What we have now with Headstart is an additional option for parents who want to equip and provide training for their (special needs) child.

“But the Education Ministry needs to start preparing for the future to see what they are doing in terms of providing space like government land and schools to provide for these children.”

Yeoh said the Education Ministry needed to look into educating teachers.

“Put this into the syllabus when training teachers, instead of us trying to constantly look for a special budget for this, because it is expensive.

“The government must also start treating this as mainstream.

“It is very hard for Headstart Academy to find government land, so they have to rent space at shopping centres, which is expensive.

“But I am happy to see them collaborating with the Selangor government,” she said.

As part of its commitment to community service, Headstart Academy announced their partnership with Anak Istimewa Selangor (Anis) assistance programme to support parents with special needs children, represented by Anis assistant director Danial Al Rashid Haron.

In his speech, Khairul said Headstart Academy started from his own personal experience with his son who was diagnosed with severe autism 11 years ago.

“When I decided to open my own centre, I drew inspiration from a special needs school my son attended in Singapore and began to recruit professionals, therapists and teachers so that Headstart Academy could embrace the multi-disciplinary approach which has been proven successful,” he said.

Headstart Academy Damansara provides multiple services for special needs children – assessment, speech, occupational and behaviour therapy as well as EIP, all conducted in specially designed facilities inclusive of classrooms, occupational therapy gym and sensory room.

credit to The Star for the article

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