World Autism Awareness Day 2016 Highlights

April is World Autism Awareness Month, and on the 2nd of April, we celebrated World Autism Awareness Day. It was a huge day of celebrating and accepting autism, as well as spreading hope and awareness.

 

Our team, along with a dedicated team of volunteers from UCSI volunteers, started the day with some set up, making sure that whoever walked in later that morning would have a memorable day.

The ushering team getting briefed
The Paint For Autism team getting ready the paint for the participants

We launched the event with one of our kiddos counting down to the release of 100 blue balloons into the air. It was definitely a moment to remember. 

The launch of World Autism Awareness Day

We then kicked of Malaysia's first ever Paint For Autism project! This was where teams of 3-4 painted individual blocks according to the guides given, and these 30 blocks were later assembled to reveal a bigger picture. The atmosphere was buzzing with excitement as people were guessing what their painting would be a part of.

We had Kent Sim, Lukas Lopez, Sam Lopez (not pictured) and David Soh (not pictured) entertaining us with some lovely music throughout the day!

The day then continued with everyone going into the hall for the main event. One of our boys, together with his co-host Deborah Henry, former Miss Universe Malaysia 2016, were emcees for the event. It was without a doubt a proud moment for our team and the boy's parents.

One of our boys, and his co-host, Deborah Henry

The main event kicked off with a parent dialogue session, where three parents of children with autism shared their journey and experiences, along with some encouragement.

UCSI University then did a 10 minute presentation on Different Forms of Expressive Arts Therapy, right after a speech by Dr Chan, the Dean of UCSI University Psychology Department.

 Dr Chan, Dean of UCSI University Psychology Department.
A final year UCSI University student giving a presentation on Different Forms of Expressive Arts Therapy

Lastly, we invited Dr Nan, from Wisconsin Early Autism Project to give her presentation on the Latest Findings In Autism. It was an insightful presentation as the audience had a deeper insight on the field of autism.

Dr Nan Huai, Licensed Psychologist and Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) at the WEAP-Madison Clinic

We closed the main event by inviting the crowd outside, for the much awaited revealing of the Paint For Autism Project!

"The vastness of this universe can't stop a child from shining ever so brightly like a star."
Our director, Jochebed Isaacs, explaining the message behind the painting as well as the significance of everyone involved in painting each block.

As the quote says, we wanted everyone to know that nothing can stop a child, regardless of their differences, from shining their light in this world. Every child is born different, and for children with autism, it takes many people to understand them, which was the message behind teams painting different individual blocks. It takes many hands to make sense of a child with autism.

One of our kiddos fitting in the final piece of block
Thanks to all who came out and helped made this day a huge success!

Throughout the day, we had a kids' play area, a free screening booth, an exhibition booth displaying our kids' arts and crafts, an engagement activity for people to take part in, booths by different vendors and of course our very own merchandise on sale.

Kids' play area
An exhibition booth displaying our kids' arts and crafts
Flint & Steel, who also happened to be one of our partners, came all the way from Kuching, Sarawak to open a booth!
We also had Ash Be Nimble, who was also our partner throughout our month-long campaign.
Amazing Glaze was available for the sweet-toothed, too!
You can still order these merchandise here!

We hope that you have had a wonderful day celebrating World Autism Awareness Day! Share your moments with us by adding the hastags #lovesomeonewithautism and #welcometohope on your photos! A huge shoutout to all our partners, sponsors, volunteers and team for making it happen.

EAP team
The team of UCSI University student volunteers who partnered with us in making this day a huge success

We hope to see you at World Autism Awareness Day next year!