The Star Reports our Walk for Autism

Being The Voice For Autism

by Vijenthi Nair vijenthi@thestar.com.my

SUPPORT for a cause can be done in many ways, like walking. Some 300 people showed up on Saturday morning for the first annual walk for autism organised by Early Autism Project (EAP) Malaysia at Bangkung Park in Jalan Jejawi, Bangsar.

Hosted by local celebrity and Capital FM deejay Asha Gill, the event also had exhibition booths and activities such as games, face painting, lucky draw and clowns to liven up the walk.

EAP Malaysia director Jochebed Isaacs said the walk represented the statement that even when everything was progressing so fast globally, people still took time out of their busy lives to show that they want to make a difference, to be a voice for the children and people with autism.

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I was here: The children making hand prints on pieces of canvas.

“In conjunction with World Autism Day on April 2, the Centres for Disease Control announced the latest statistics on the prevalence of autism which was one in 88 children! This has been declared an epidemic by the United States.

“It will not be long before all of us know someone or bump into someone with autism. The reason behind this walk is to raise awareness on autism,” she said.

Isaacs said there was a lot that we could do to help children with autism.

“Firstly, we need to be aware of the symptoms. Before the age of three, they would usually reflect delayed or abnormal development in three areas which are language development, social skills and behaviour.

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Limbering up: The participants doing some stretching exercises before the flag-off.

“If you see a child demonstrating these red flags, encourage their parents to seek professional help as soon as they can. The earlier the treatment, the higher the chances are for the child to catch up.

“Members of society can also cooperate. Business owners can hire them with a job coach, parents should be open to their child being a peer to a child with autism or volunteer to help support families with autism.

“A little show of tolerance, not staring at a child who is having a meltdown and judging them or their parents, helps,” she said.

She added that the more people knew about autism, the fewer myths would persist such as children with autism were aggressive.

“If you were to just imagine for a moment, not being able to speak and not understanding what was happening and being taken from place to place, different transitions, would you not show some form of frustration or anxiety? Maybe that’s why our children show aggressive behaviour.

“Other than that, we also hope the public becomes aware that there are treatments available for autism and that not all hopes are lost,” Isaacs said.

EAP Malaysia is a programme and clinic for the treatment of children with autism and is currently providing therapeutic treatment for families in Klang Valley besides training workshops with follow-up supervision in other locations. For more information, visit autismmalaysia.com or eapmalaysia.blogspot.com

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This article is taken directly from The Star Metro [update: link no longer available].