Published in: Oriental Daily
Publication Date: 8th April 2020
Disclaimer: This article was originally written in Mandarin and has been translated into English. The original article contains certain interpretation errors, and the article below has been rewritten to accurately reflect what our Director meant during the interview.
Set short-term goals for children with autism
Jochebed Isaacs is the Director of Early Autism Project Malaysia (hereinafter referred to as EAP) and has been in the field of autism for more than 10 years now. Many parents have questioned about how early should early detection and treatment be. It is crucial for parents to monitor their child’s developmental milestones from birth up until at least 2-years-old. Some of the red flags of Autism are child not showing signs of language development, parents finding it hard to gain child’s attention, or if child is observed to be engaging in unusual behaviours.
Creating a learning environment that is suitable for children with Autism is essential and can be easily carried out. “The key principle to this is to ensure child’s safety. For example, the entrance of the school gate needs to be closed at all times to prevent children from running out to the street. The stairs is also a dangerous area, as many accidents could happen there. If you buy toys for your children, make sure you are careful with the smaller parts, and try to use round tables at home. As for the classroom design, she said that children with Autism are usually easily distracted; thus, they could be seated closer to the teacher at the front of the class, but the more effective teaching method for them is through one-to-one teaching.
She reminded parents to break down long-term learning goals and skills into smaller steps and goals. Parents could begin by setting learning goals for the short term by asking themselves, “What kind of progress do I wish to see my child achieve within a month’s time?” This may be your child calling you “mom” or that your child is able to go to the toilet independently. These goals and achievements are something worth celebrating. As time goes on, parents will then realise that their child has progressed through many milestones.
During this MCO period, EAP has uploaded a blog article on its official website to help parents educate children with Autism about how they can protect themselves during this pandemic, the link to the article is: Support For Families Coping With Covid-19
EAP has also released the online platform of Autism At Home on World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 to provide parents information in learning how to support children with Autism at home.