How Much Do You Think You Understand Autism?

A talk on Autism by Ms Teh Shin Er was held recently at Ave Maria Convent School Hall Ipoh. Organised by Ave Maria Convent Alumni Association Ipoh Ms Teh Shin Er, a doctorate candidate in clinical psychology at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, USA, called on parents to be more alert and observe the child’s speech and behaviours, as autism symptoms are detectable as early as 9 months.

AUTISM or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a broad range of symptoms characterized by impairments in social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and non-verbal communication and interactions with people. Early diagnosis and intervention are critically important in affecting the child’s developmental trajectory — the earlier the treatment, the better the prognosis.

“The primary recommended intervention is Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA), which targets multiple developmental skills including speech, social skills, emotional regulation, etc. ABA intervention might be scarce in Perak but plenty of centres/hospitals in Kuala Lumpur offer such treatments,” offered Ms Teh.

Aside from social difficulties, Ms Teh said further that children with autism have fixated interests and/or behaviours that are often restricted and rigid, with an ‘obsessive’ quality. Individuals with autism often engage in simple, repetitive activity with their own body parts (e.g. hard flapping or vocalization) or in simple activities (e.g., observing a toy train going around the tracks for hours). They also often have rituals (e.g., showering for 1.5 hours) that when intervened, result in high discomfort or even meltdowns.

The talk was organised by the Ave Maria Convent Alumni Association Ipoh (AMCAA) and the main sponsor was Legend of Tea Sdn Bhd, co-sponsored by EQ Parents and Students Association, SRJK(C) Ave Maria Convent Parent and Teacher Association and the Loving Mothers Group.

The alumni association president Moy Ooi Thye hopes that this talk on Autism by a highly qualified professional speaker can enlighten the public in general but especially the parents who may have an autistic child at home

More than 300 parents, educators and social workers were in attendance.

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