PETALING JAYA – Parents raising children with autism often find themselves thinking of ways to empower their children to build their own lives.
Although some children with autism are able to get through primary and secondary school, those who actually make it to university or the workforce are few and far between.
National Autism Society of Malaysia (Nasom) president Datuk Megat Ahmad Shahrani Megat Shahrudin said after their school lives, many autistic children remain entirely dependent on their parents or other family members.
“It is understandable why they are unlikely to try and find jobs because they are unlikely to maintain a job due to the characteristics associated with autism, and no skills training,” he said.
Thanks to Nasom’s constant efforts, the autism community is finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
A pilot programme to offer technical and vocational skills training for school leavers with autism is being considered by the Youth and Sports Ministry.
Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, in his speech after The Rock Walk for Autism here Saturday, said he had instructed the National Youth Skills Institute (IKBN) to work with Nasom on structuring the programme.
“At the moment the big question is what happens after school, so the idea is to provide them with skills training.
“I have asked IKBN to talk to Nasom and develop a pilot programme for children from the We Rock The Spectrum kids gym to learn vocational skills,” he said.
The We Rock The Spectrum kids gym at Evolve Concept Mall is an indoor play centre for children of all abilities, promoting learning development and sensory safe play.
Details of the pilot project have yet to be finalised, but Khairy believes it will be a major step in the right direction.
“The existing early intervention for autistic children is not going to be enough to care for them.
“We cannot call ourselves a developed or progressive nation if we are unable to care for all our people,” he said. – The Star Online