‘SMARTER is truly world-class’

National 1 minute, 42 seconds


AN AUSTRALIAN university recently gave SMARTER Brunei 14 gold stars for its excellent service despite having few staff members and inadequate facilities.

The head of Disability and Community Inclusion of Findlers University, Professor Caroline Ellison, yesterday said SMARTER has demonstrated that it is truly a world-class organisation and has successfully reached to the standards set by the Autism Programme Quality Indicators (APQI) New York.

According to the website of the University of the State of New York, APQI is a self-review and quality improvement guide for schools and programmes serving students with autism spectrum disorders.

Flinders University in Australia, on the other hand, is one of the “few universities that has an entire unit dedicated to people with disabilities, which is part of our Faculty of Medicine,” said Lecturer Deb Smith, who was in the Sultanate with Ellison for a public forum hosted by SMARTER on Wednesday.

“Organisations around the world offering the same programme as SMARTER takes many years to reach the world’s standard of level but SMARTER managed to achieve this in a short span of time so it’s a great achivement,” said Professor Caroline.

According to the professor, SMARTER was assessed carefully through observations in terms of programme development, the strategies they uphold, staff member employed, communication skills they use when interacting with parents of the autistic child and their collaboration with the community. Evaluation of the organisation shows that it is not only competent but also highly innovative in its approaches.

An APQI certificate was awarded to SMARTER Brunei President Malai Hj Abdullah Malai Hj Othman to signify the outstanding service offered by his centre.

Professor Caroline stressed that autism should be addressed more and needs constant support from the public.

“One way the people of Brunei can show their support is to buy their products whenever they hold pop up sales where they sell freshly baked treats made by individuals with autism,” said the professor.

She added that while this can create awareness, it can also further motivate the autistic children.

The Brunei Times