By Abdul Razak Hussin
BANGI, 11 May, 2011 –The National University of Malaysia (UKM) Laboratory for the Teaching of Autism is a significant contribution by the university to the government’s effort in getting every citizen have proper and suitable education.
This was stated by the Minister for Women, Family and Community Development, Senator Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil at the UKM Autism Charity Dinner 2011 at Dectar here last Saturday.
Set up in January 2009 at the Faculty of Education UKM, the laboratory gives hope to children suffering from autism get the proper attention and education.
She hoped contributions and donations given by all sectors including corporate donors will help the centre’s efforts in ensuring autism children get the best education.
Her speech was read by the Director General Social Welfare Department, Hadzir Md Zain. The dinner was also attended by Prof Dr Saran Kaur Gill, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Industry and Community Partnership), senior UKM officials, parents and autism children.
Autism effects the neurological aspect of a person which can have a negative impact on their social behavior, communication and imagination.
Many of the individuals suffering from autism can become disabled intellectually if not given proper attention. Thus a special education module needed to be formulated to help such children attain their full potentials.
The dinner was organized by researchers from the UKM Autism Study Laboratory headed by Dr Hasnah Toran to raise about RM200,000 to cover its operational cost in providing a conducive atmosphere in teaching the special children as well as to carry research.
The event is also held to help foster close co-operation between UKM, parents and society and improve the public’s understanding of the needs of autism children.
The event had the full support of various groups including the Hulu Langat Education Department and UKM Chancellor’s Foundation.
Prof Saran Kaur said the UKM Chancellor’s Foundation had set up the UKM Special Children Laboratory Trust Fund to assist the laboratory which could presently cater for only 18 children. Eleven graduate students with four doing their Phds and seven for their masters’ degrees are conducting research in special teaching needs at the laboratory.
Translated by Abdul Ghani Nasir