‘SOP should be created for NGOs like SMARTER’
BANDAR SERI EBGAWAN
RELEVANT ministries need to collaboratively consider a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for non-governmental organisations that handle people with special needs in order for those with autism and differently abled people to progress in Brunei.
Malai Hj Abdullah Malai Hj Othman, president of the Society for the Management of Autism Related Issues in Training, Education and Resources (SMARTER), made the comment yesterday at the close of the 8th Brunei National Conference on Autism at the Ministry of Health (MoH) building.
“We hope to sit together with these ministries in coming up with a SOP and that we are treated as special so we don’t have to queue like everyone else and are exempted from the rules, given privileges and to pave the way for us,” he told The Brunei Times in an interview.
He was referring to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS), MoH, the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA).
“I hope the ministries can look at SMARTER as a non-governmental organisation and not as a business entity,” he added.
A resolution was also presented by Debbie Smith of Australia’s Flinders University to mark the end of the two-day autism conference.
It highlighted the need to recognise human capacity building at all levels of society within the notions of PETS.
PETS is an acronym for projecting a positive image with respect; educating everyone, starting with the family; training all of those involved; and skill development for those living with autism, their family and community.
She also stressed the importance of keeping ‘FACE’ — facilitating involvement in all aspects of life; accepting individuals as they are; collaborating with stakeholders; and embracing difference as part of uniqueness.
The resolution was handed over to the Acting Australian High Commissioner, Selina Cho, who was invited as the guest of honour.
Organised by SMARTER Brunei and Flinders University with the support of the Australian government’s New Colombo Plan, the conference brought together over 100 practitioners in the area of autism care, families and individuals living with autism.
Among the conference participants were officers from the MCYS, MoH and MoE.
The conference also marked the end of a three-week attachment by 10 students and lecturers from Flinders University who had undertaken work experience at SMARTER and its Brunei Autism Centre for Adults (BACA).
The Brunei Times