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5 action ideas

© UNICEF/BANA2012-01449/Khan

Shed light on autism!
Autism affects children across the world, irrespective of gender, race and socio-economic status. We can help to care for children with autism as well as educate others about the truth of this autism. Instead of focusing on the condition, we should celebrate the abilities of children with autism. Shedding the stereotypes and reinforcing the facts are a great way to honour World Autism Day this April.

Learn more about autism from local NGOs in Malaysia

§ National Autism Society of Malaysia

§ Parent's Resource for Autism Malaysia

§ Malaysian Care

Mind your language
While an autism diagnosis can be disheartening, it's no reason to imply a parent has "lost" a child. Children with autism are beautiful beings, possessing extraordinary talents, aspirations, qualities — unique characteristics to be celebrated. We must be conscious of the language we use to describe the emotions surrounding an autism diagnosis. Yes, it might be frightening; but children with autism aren't a loss at all. They're distinctive human beings that should be nurtured and appreciated. Pledge to be mindful of the words you use when talking about autism.

Share your story of hope!
Stories are a wonderful way to share an experience and inspire others. This April, we invite you to share your inspiring, hopeful story of how autism has touched your life – either as a parent, a brother or sister, a loved one, a friend or a colleague. Please send a photo (JPEG) and your story (between 50 and 300 words) to Stories will be shared on our Facebook page this April. You will receive a link to share with friends and family!

Read the signs.
Milestones enable parents and physicians to monitor a baby's learning, behaviour, and development. While each child develops differently, some differences may indicate a slight delay and others may be a cause for greater concern. Before your child's next visit to the physician, please take the time to see if your child has met his/her key milestones. These milestones should not be used in place of a screening, but should be used as discussion points between parents and physicians at each visit. If a child does not have the skills listed---or if there is a loss of any skill at any age---be sure to let your physician know. Check your child's development milestones.

Help the parents
Just as children with autism face adversity throughout their lives, parents of children with autism encounter their own hardships and obstacles. Parenting a child with autism can reap great satisfaction, and at the same time it takes immense patience and composure. It's important for parents of kids with autism to take care of themselves too. These parents help their kids learn and grow up as normally as possible day-in and day-out; it's impossible to do what they do without making sure their own physical and psychological needs are met as well.

The Parents Resource for Autism Malaysia (PR4A) is a great support group for all families fighting autism in Malaysia. Call 03-90512005 or email mailto: to learn more.

Here are some activities that may help strengthen parents' abilities to relate and cope with their children who have autism:

§ Do something active with your spouse, and talk about anything but the kids

§ Make some time for yourself every day, no exceptions

§ Find a mentor or a helper who can relate to your child

§ Designate a special day to do exactly what your autistic child wants to do — even if it means visiting your local auto parts store!

§ Reach out to other parents with newly diagnosed children — give them encouragement from your experiences



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