Learn to accept autism to help children develop faster, parents told

National 1 minute, 51 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

PARENTS of autistic children must accept their condition to allow them to learn and develop faster, an official from the non-government organisation (NGO) Learning Ladders Society (LLS) said yesterday.

Chua Chee Boon, an LLS counsellor, stressed that parents should not ignore the signs of autism, referring to those who have been denying that their children are suffering such a disorder.

LLS is an autism children centre founded in 2007. This year, the group is assisting at least 15 children suffering from autism.

“The faster parents accept it, the faster their children can learn and improve, especially with the help of autism centres.

“We usually spend a minimum of three hours daily with them (autistic children) to help them improve,” he told The Brunei Times in an interview during the Studyrama: Higher Education and Career Fair yesterday at Duli Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah College (Maktab Duli).

Chua Chee Boon advised parents to involve their children in LSS’ Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) programme, or to seek help from the Child Development Centre under the Ministry of Health.

The ABA is a formal system of problem definition and solving that focuses specifically on observable and measurable behaviours, according to the group’s briefer.

In a 2009 report, the National Autism Centre said that approximately 40 to 50 per cent of children receiving early high-quality intensive ABA service will achieve typical levels of functioning and require no further treatment.

It noted that “ABA is also rated as the most effective [intervention] for older children up to age 21” suffering from symptoms of autism.

“Parents must realise that it’s not the end of the world when their child is affected with autism. All children can be taught and can improve,” he said.

“That is why we need to focus on them from an early age when they started showing the symptoms,” he added.

Chua Chee Boon noted that autistic children can be very talented in what they are interested in.

The main thing is to focus the teaching on what interests them or on what they admire, he said.

“If a child wants to become a scientist, keep teaching him/her about science. It is essential that we know their strengths to help them grow,” he said.

The Brunei Times