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