Materia Medica Malaysiana

June 6, 2007

Learn to spot signs of autism

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:58 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: Providers for young children, including parents and kindergarten and primary school teachers, should be trained to recognise signs of autism.
Wanita MCA chief Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen said yesterday that the children would benefit from early identification of the neurological disorder, which would lead to intervention and consequently providing them with a better life.
“With rehabilitation, they can learn how to manage themselves, and parents play an important role,” she said at a press conference to announce a seminar and workshop on autism.
“All childcare providers like kindergarten teachers, Year One teachers, parents and even grandparents should have the training to recognise the signs. This is so that they can be referred for further investigation with the proper institution.”
Autism is a physical disorder of the brain which is characterised by severe communication and behaviour problems. Some symptoms are that children have one-sided conversations, do not show interest, do not make eye contact, hate change, talk repeatedly about the same thing and do not play with others.
The Wanita MCA Multi-Purpose Training Centre (MPTC) Lifelong Learning Centre, together with the National Autism Society of Malaysia (Nasom), is organising a seminar and workshop this Saturday on the third floor auditorium at Wisma MCA, from 8am to 6pm.
Dr Ng said the joint programme would be expanded to a series of roadshows to create awareness on autism among Malaysians and provide the basic skills on how to deal with those with the disorder.
She added that help would also be given to Nasom for capacity building and training. The society has been given a RM13mil grant by the Government to carry out activities such as setting up a national autistic training centre in Klang.
Nasom chairman Teh Beng Choon said that early intervention for autistic children was helpful, citing his son Lucas, 12, who previously would not talk to people, but now could “not stop talking.”
Lucas, he added, was now attending private school where he had been placed in a Form Two class and did not display characteristics such as using his hand to hit his head or repeating things that people had said.
“His biggest challenge is to find friends. They do not like the fact that he shows them that he is smarter than them,” Teh said.
“He is very lonely but he is very close to his elder sister and younger brother.”
Teh added that families needed not only support in the way of government policies, but also opportunities for their children to thrive both academically and socially.
“Awareness is still very far behind where the children can be accepted for all their peculiarities, so that they trust and have confidence in you,” he said.
Those interested in attending the workshop can call 03-2161 8044 (ext 105) or fax to 03-2161 8211. Registration fee is RM10 with breakfast, lunch and tea provided. For more information on Nasom, call 03-4022 3744 or e-mail nasom@streamyx.com

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