SEREMBAN: When her son was diagnosed with autism three years ago, Syariffah Nurlidawati Wan Mohamad Zen did not know anything about it. “I never thought it would happen to my son. I was shocked at first but I kept my composure and started doing research about autism to have better understanding about it. “I enrolled my son, who was only four-years-old at that time at a special centre for children with autism in Kuala Lumpur, and had to travel from Seremban to Kuala Lumpur every day until I was introduced to Chrysalis Specialist Learning Centre (CSLC) in Seremban,” she said. Shariffah said her son, Mohammad Syaffiq Iqbal, now eight, has been showing positive progress which has motivated her to come forward to help raise awareness on autism.
Syariffah Nurlidawati Wan Mohamad Zen. Pix by Adzlan Sidek
“As a mother to a child with autism, I feel it is important for me to share my experience and information to help other parents cope. With the right knowledge and information, I believe we can help to support each other,” said the founder of Family, Artistes, Musicians & Entertainers (F.A.M.E), an independent non-governmental organisation (NGO). When she learnt about the Autism Awareness Campaign 2018, which will be held for the first time in Seremban organised by CSLC, Shariffah said she didn’t think twice to help out. Together with CSLC director and principal, Tracy Tai, the event, which will be held on April 22 will offer various activities for the public to learn more about autism. Tracy said according to Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Austism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, about 1 in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and it occurs in all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic groups. “It is about 4.5 times more common among boys than girls. So, we hope to create greater awareness and acceptance on autism, educate the public about autism and special needs through educational talks and also create a platform for individuals with special needs to showcase their skills and abilities, especially in conjunction with Autism Month in April,” she said. She added the event would also feature various activities including talks on autism, forums as well as performances from students from various schools in Seremban. “This is a non-profit event and open to the public for free,” she said during a Press conference held at Klana Resort here, today. The event is set to be held at Palm Mall Seremban from 1pm to 5pm. For more information, log on to its Facebook page at Support Autism Project. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd