KUALA LUMPUR: Parents and guardians of children with autism and disabilities (OKU) have been urged to register their children with the Social Welfare Department (JKM) so that early intervention assistance can be channelled to help the development of these children.

Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM) Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun said the ministry has the programme to provide assistance and support covering various aspects of the life of children with special needs, including employment.

She added that it also provides parental-training interventions as well as exposure to managing the lives of autistic children.

“Early intervention is very important to help the development of these children in terms of speech and behaviour. The government through the ministry and its agencies have various initiatives and guidance for parents and guardians such as Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR),” she said.

Rina was speaking to reporters after launching the Bernama (Malaysian National News Agency) Creative Art Exhibition in conjunction with the 2021 World Autism Awareness Day at Wisma Bernama here today.

Also present were KPWKM secretary-general Dr Maziah Che Yusoff, National Visual Arts Development Board chairman Datuk Tom Abang Saufi, Bernama chairman Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi and Bernama editor-in-chief Abdul Rahman Ahmad.

To date, a total of 595.000 disabled people (OKU) have registered with JKM and of the total, 28,941 are individuals with autism.

As such, Rina also advised parents and guardians, in particular, young couples not to feel ashamed or inferior if they have children with special needs, but to nurture and highlight the talents of these children.

On the exhibition, Rina described it as an advocacy medium in empowering the autistic and OKU community in the country.

“Today’s art exhibition can promote the talent and creativity of people with autism and disabilities, as well as increasing awareness and understanding within the community,” she said.

The 10-day Creative Art Exhibition, beginning today, features more than 10 artworks and paintings of seven artists with autism, held at the lobby of Wisma Bernama. — Bernama