Have you ever encountered

a child showing her or his tantrum at the mall by banging his/her head on the wall or jumping again and again in an aggressive manner? Autism, a lot of people used this term but not everyone understand what the definition is. The basic question that most of us ask, what autism is? Autism is known as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) because these autistic children, they have different ranges of severity, from mild to severe condition of autism. There are no 2 different children have the same spectrum. Believe it or not, autism occurs more in male than female. Quoting New Straits Times (8th April 2018), there are estimated 300,000 people in Malaysia are living with ASD.

Autism is a condition where a child has combination of problems that includes problems in social interaction and communication with other people. Bear in your mind that autistic children have difficulties in identifying gestures, keeping conversations going (unless it is related to their favourite topic) and making eye contact which contributes to the problems of the 2 factors mentioned earlier. However, some of the children will have selective preferences of environments which they will comfortable with. So, any changes of the environment or setting, will definitely upset these children. Autism will occurs with few disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactive-Disorder (ADHD), learning difficulties, anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and few others. However, autistic children can excel in different subjects such as Mathematics, arts, Science, Information Technology (IT) and etc. according to their interests. 

The factors of autism are not identified yet, which resulted in no any forms of treatment as well. In other words, there is no cure for autism. However, it is has been highlighted repeatedly that vaccines is not the cause of autism. So take note, vaccines are always safe for your children. Parents can identify the symptoms of autism of a child as early as 2 years old. Early diagnosis means early intervention can be done. There are few interventions that can be applied for the autistic children, drugs prescribed by the doctors, therapy for the parents and the children that have autistic as well. The therapies’ learning objectives for both parents and the child will be different according to the child’s needs. As have been stated before, there are no 2 autistic children have the same spectrum of disorder. Below are some of the obvious characteristics of autistic children.

Can an autistic child have a normal life? This can be achieved with help of parents in treating autism in home and treatment as early as 7 years old. There are several places where parents can and their autistic child can be assisted with support in Malaysia such as National Autism Society Malaysia (NASOM), Early Autism Project Malaysia, The National Autism Society of Malaysia and many more.

P/S: Dear parents with special children, do not ever give up on your children. These children are the blessing in disguise, true enough that there will be endless challenges in leading your everyday lives with the children, but ongoing researches are being done to help you and the future generation as well.

Ayla Palermo

Curriculum and Programme Developer at ALFA and Friends

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