KUALA LUMPUR – February 7, 2019: Permata Kurnia, which started as a centre for early intervention of autistic children, has now evolved into an entity aiming to educate and help society understand autism.
Thus its mission is now not just limited to guiding and preparing autistic children for mainstream school but hopefully, shaping society to better accept the existence of those with autism.
Programme director Dr. Hasnah Toran pointed to the case of Ahmad Ziqri Morshidi, a 22-year-old autistic man who was arrested and handcuffed last September for allegedly molesting a woman, despite his disability.
In that case, the police was quick to respond to the public outcry against their inappropriate standard operating procedures in handling autistic suspects and then sought advice from Permata Kurnia and the National Autism Society of Malaysia.
“The police efficiency and willingness to learn has made it easy for us to share our knowledge on autism and help advise them on the new SOP for handling autistic suspects.
“If everything goes smoothly, the new SOP may be implemented sometime in April, the same month which recognises the World Autism Day,” said Hasnah.
She also thanked the current government for continuing to support Permata Kurnia which was set up by its predecessor.
According to Hasnah, there are more than a hundred autistic children from the early intervention centre who have entered normal schools. One of them has not only entered a normal school but is also one of the top students there.
“Naturally these children are different and may need a different kind of attention and my hope is to help teachers understand them better,” said Hasnah.
Permata is a series of education programmes initiated by Datuk Seri Rosmah Mansor, wife of the former prime minister.
The Permata Kurnia centre in Sentul started its operations in 2014 and the demand for its services has been increasing. It has been running at full capacity since.