Tag Archives: Autism Aspergers Help Association (AAHA)

Don’t Be Taken For a Walk

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I refer to your article in the Community section entitled, “Walking for a Good Cause” (Ipoh Echo Issue 159, February 1-15).

I am Dr Shan Narayanan, a Consultant Paediatrician. Working with individuals with special needs is my passion. The incidence of Autism is on the increase but the opportunity for early intervention for these children is limited.

Thus I came up with the suggestion to form Autism Asperger’s Help Association (AAHA). The primary aim of AAHA was to set up an autism-specific early intervention programme. The formation meeting was held in my clinic and I was the founding president.

The association had no funds, no office and no teacher. As such, my clinic’s address was used as the registered address. My two sons donated RM1000 to open an account at Public Bank in Ipoh Garden. As more money was needed to take us towards the setting up of the AAHA Centre, I gave RM10,000 as a loan to the association, which I later treated as a donation.

We recruited a lady who now teaches at the centre. She was placed in Blooming Kidz for hands-on work for the whole of 2011 and was given an allowance of RM600 a month. I contributed RM300 towards her monthly allowance for the whole year.

As more funds were needed, I came up with the idea of a “Walk for Autism”. To get participants, I personally campaigned in various colleges during my clinic hours thus losing out on my income.

My regular patients’ parents donated between RM7000-8000. Upon my request, Dutch Lady Malaysia Sdn Bhd donated RM5000. Introduced by a parent of my regular patient, Camfil Farr Malaysia Sdn Bhd donated RM2500.

I resigned in early 2012 due to health reasons. The article says funds were collected by a “Walk for Autism” but the very foundation in which AAHA and AAHA Centre came about has been omitted.

The association is going to be three years old. The AAHA Centre is just one year old and is considered a “baby” in the Autism fraternity. I am shocked that in the article, the Centre is portrayed as having so much experience. It is just a basic early-intervention centre with limited experience in autism.

If AAHA Centre has indeed become an expert centre, I request those responsible to exhibit its accreditation certificate for public viewing. They also claimed to have four experienced teachers. Can they reveal their credentials? This is of utmost importance to assure the public and those with autistic children the credibility of AAHA and the Centre.

With these concerns and the moral responsibility to protect the public from being misled and to ensure that funds raised are not misused, I have made a police report. I have also lodged a complaint with the Registry of Societies.

Thus my message to the readers is WALK FOR AUTISM but DO NOT BE TAKEN FOR A WALK. Check your facts before contributing or participating.

Dr Shan Narayanan
Ipoh

Walking for a Good Cause

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Walking for a Good CauseThe number of children diagnosed with autism, a complex neuro-developmental disorder, in the country is on the rise. While there is no known cure, it is proven that early intervention, from as young as one and a half years old, is extremely important in helping these children to be functionally independent.

As such, Ipoh-based Autism Asperger’s Help Association (A.A.H.A.) has once again taken the step in creating public awareness on autism, and at the same time, tried to reduce the stigma and prejudice associated with the disorder.

In conjunction with World Autism Awareness Month in April, A.A.H.A. is organising the second Walk Now For Autism on Sunday, April 14. The 5-km route starts from Ipoh’s Red Crescent Hall.

This charity event is not only aimed at creating awareness but also to raise funds to upkeep the association’s Early Intervention Programme (EIP) centre in Ipoh Garden East and to start the much-needed Pre-Academic Class for autistic children in Ipoh.

These classes are somewhat like kindergarten except that they do not follow the kindergarten syllabus. The classes are targeted at the weaknesses of each child, with the hope that they could then be integrated into mainstream schools.

Training for teachers and those interested to work with special needs children are also in the pipeline. Future plans of the association are to set up a proper support group for parents of autistic children, and the establishment of relief care services, that would enable families affected by autism to have a more balanced family life.

Besides the walk, there will be a “Little Giant Fair” where companies that deal in products like books and toys for special needs children are invited to participate for the convenience of parents who may find difficulty in procuring these products in Ipoh. An exhibition area will be available where posters regarding autism will be put up. Related NGOs and associations will provide information on resources available in the city. Other programmes lined up for that day will include short talks and networking opportunities offering counselling and support to families.

The association hopes to raise RM100,000 from this charity walk and exhibition. Funds raised during the first walk in 2011, totalling approximately RM25,000, went towards the setting up of the EIP centre. The centre now has 17 children under the care of four experienced teachers.

To participate in Walk Now For Autism 2013 call A.A.H.A. at 012-592 6800 (Mrs Cherlyn Foo) or 019‑558 2633 (Mrs Emily Gik). Registration fee is RM20 for adults, RM15 for college students and RM10 for school children and special needs children. Participants will receive a free T-shirt.

Emily

Autism Awareness

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The Autism Aspergers Help Association (AAHA) successfully held their autism awareness walk last month.

Titled ‘Walk for Autism 2011’ its goal was to create public awareness of the growing needs of children with autism.

AAHA President Dr Shan N. Narayanan in his speech explained that Autism is a developmental disorder and is increasing in numbers. “Autism not only impacts the child but the family and community too”. The need to create awareness is addressed by offering parents information on signs, detection, diagnosis and where they can get help.

The most important thing is for parents to accept that their children are autistic and realise there is help available. Dr Shan said it had been scientifically proven that the earlier an intervention programme is started with autistic children, the more likely is the outcome to be better than when they start kindergarten at six years old.

The association, which was set up last year, was also trying to raise funds to set up a kindergarten to cater to children with autism in Ipoh. Assisting Dr Shan with the organising of the event was AAHA Programme Co-ordinator and Principal of Blooming Kids Inclusive-Play School Mrs Michele Cheah.

Dr Shan also thanked Ipoh City Council’s secretary Dato’ Abdul Rahim Ariff for officiating at the event and for allowing the use of the facilities at the Polo Grounds.

JAG