Min­istry to set up more cen­tres to di­ag­nose autism

New Straits Times - - News -

MALACCA: More cen­tres to de­tect autis­tic chil­dren will be set up by the Women, Fam­ily and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Min­istry.

This will al­low for early in­ter­ven­tion that caters to a bet­ter re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and to pre­pare autis­tic chil­dren when they be­come adults.

Its min­is­ter, Datuk Seri Ro­hani Ab­dul Karim, said this was a con­cern as many autis­tic chil­dren were reg­is­tered late.

Ac­cord­ing to So­cial Wel­fare Depart­ment records, chil­dren be­tween 7 and 12 are the largest group of those reg­is­tered with autism.

As of March 30, 15,484 peo­ple with autism were reg­is­tered with the depart­ment, with 11,495 (74.2 per cent) of them chil­dren be­low the age of 18.

“We need to cre­ate more aware­ness, with par­ents and teach­ers play­ing a role to de­tect chil­dren with autism and to reg­is­ter with us,” she said at the eighth “Walk for Autism” event at Porta De Santiago in Banda Hilir here yes­ter­day.

A to­tal of 4,000 peo­ple par­tic­i­pated in the walk cov­er­ing 2.7km and pass­ing through sev­eral his­toric sites such as Stadthuys and Jonker Walk.

Present were So­cial Wel­fare Depart­ment di­rec­tor-gen­eral Datuk Zulk­i­fly Ramli and Chief Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Idris Haron.

Ro­hani said Se­lan­gor had reg­is­tered the high­est num­ber of peo­ple with autism, with 3,345 peo­ple recorded, fol­lowed by Johor (1,694), Sabah (1,466) and Perak (1,438).

She said reg­is­ter­ing autis­tic chil­dren would al­low ex­perts to pre­pare pro­grammes to as­sist in their de­vel­op­ment and to en­able them to lead a nor­mal life in adult­hood.

In some cases, she said, par­ents were not aware their chil­dren were autis­tic un­til it was de­tected by teach­ers in schools.

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