LABUAN (April 20): Approximately 600, 000 individuals who are categorised as persons with disabilities (PwD) have registered with the relevant government agencies so far, with the number of children with autism spectrum disorders and with learning disabilities now stood at 204,000, according to Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi.
“However, we believe the number could be higher as there are parents out there who have yet to register their children (with disabilities), owing to the 15 per cent of the total population might be categorised as PwD.”
She said this to reporters after visiting the Labuan Autism Association Care Centre at the University Malaysia Sabah Labuan International Campus (UMSKAL) here today.
As such, Ras Adiba called on parents with ‘denial syndrome’ to accept the fact and register their children with autism spectrum disorders or related to learning disabilities, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia, to the relevant government agencies like the Social Welfare Department for the necessary attention.
“I hope the various non-governmental organisations (NGO) or private welfare bodies will also support the establishment of early intervention centres like care centre for children with autism spectrum disorders through a collaboration programme with relevant government bodies,” she said.
At present, Ras Adiba said there were parents who were unable to send their autistic children or with learning disabilities-related issues to early intervention centres due to the limited capacity of the centre.
“As the number of unregistered autistic children could be higher, we must look at increasing the number of early intervention centres nationwide, it is my hope that the corporate bodies play their part in this issue,” she said.
Ras Adiba added that the government was serious about addressing the issue of children with learning disabilities and that the Social Welfare Department has the fund to assist these children to undergo certain therapies so that they could be independent. – Bernama