School needed for autistic kids

Tuesday June 19, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/6/19/nation/11503572&sec=nation

By YVONNE LIM
yvonnelim@thestar.com.my

Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor suggested that such a school be set up in Malaysia, after seeing the success of the Ivymount School in Washington DC that has an autism programme which includes education through music.

Autism is a developmental disorder which is usually detected in a child within the first 30 months of life.

Despite limitations in communicating normally, many with autism have exhibited extraordinary intellectual and creative capacities such as in the area of mathematics and music, and excellent memory skills.

“Those with autism cannot respond normally when spoken to or taught in an ordinary manner. During the visit, I saw that they learn well through music. A set of autistic twins I met refused to respond when I talked to them, but when asked to sing, they sang so well,” Rosmah said when presenting the National Autism Society of Malaysia (Nasom) with a donation of RM550,000.

The donation was from the earnings of a rock melon harvest at the Prime Minister’s residence in Seri Perdana.

The rock melon project was started by Rosmah in 2010 and is now being carried out by Iris Corporation Berhad. Earnings from the first sale of fruits amounting to RM600,000 were given to the 1Malaysia Council of Single Mothers Associations last year.

Rosmah said those with autism had an equal chance for success as normal people if given appropriate education and nurturing, citing American cattle breeder Temple Grandin, jazz musician Matt Savage and Pokemon creator Satoshi Tajiri as some of the successful individuals living with autism.