3 youths to launch autism awareness project

National 2 minutes, 5 seconds


THREE Bruneians are teaming up to launch an autism project in December, in a bid to raise public awareness about applied behaviour analysis therapy to help children with autism learn.

Ak Mohd Izwan Shafuan Pg Md Daud and Rasyidah Samah are alumni of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Fellows Programme in the US, while Audrey Choo runs the AC-ACE Creative Tuition School which offers one-on-one sessions for special needs students.

The three attended the Early Autism Project Malaysia Annual Conference in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month, which focused on applied behaviour analysis therapy.

In a recent interview, Ak Mohd Izwan said he had made up his mind to advocate for children’s rights after attending the YSEALI programme.

When he heard about the opportunity to apply for a grant from the US Department of State, he submitted a proposal that aimed to increase exposure about children’s rights and autism in Brunei, explaining how he would be serving his community using the funds.

“I applied and fought hard for it, and luckily I have (recently) got the news that I’ve received the grant,” he said.

He added that one of the requirements of getting the grant funding was to work with other YSEALI alumni.

“It was a really perfect moment when I discovered Rasyidah from Instagram, as she also happens to be from the YSEALI programme.

“That’s when I talked to her about establishing a partnership, which is where we are right now,” he said.

Rasyidah is the founder of Autism Advocates Brunei, which is an online platform with the aim of bridging the autistic community, parents and teachers in Brunei.

The three partners said they will launch the autism awareness project on December 3, which will be YSEALI’s third anniversary.

“All 10 ASEAN countries will celebrate the anniversary and each country has already planned what kind of activities will be done on that day.

“So in Brunei, we will be executing our project on that day,” Ak Mohd Izwan said.

According to them, a training workshop for early education teachers will take place in January, as one of the activities under the project.

“We aim to bring a trainer from the Early Autism Project Malaysia group to come over and give a talk, and provide information to teachers here who are working with autistic kids.

“I think at the same time, it will also be a good platform to bring awareness to the parents,” Ak Mohd Izwan added.

The Brunei Times