1 April 2017 – In conjunction with World Autism Awareness Day, Early Autism Project Malaysia (EAP) celebrated with Paint for Autism, a half-day community-focused initiative that aims to empower autism awareness and acceptance in Malaysia.
The creative campaign organized under EAP’s non-profit in partnership with Yayasan Kajian dan Pembangunan Masyarakat, The Hope Project saw more than 300 participants gather at Help International School to paint 81-piece puzzle artwork by local illustrator and children’s book author Emila Yusof.
The artwork was pieced together to reveal the final artwork that illustrated the beauty that can be found in everyone’s minds. The process of having the artwork painted by different groups of people also signified the collaborative effort required of the community to support individuals with autism and their families for them to lead fulfilling lives.
“There is so much more than we can do to support individuals with autism and their families. It begins with awareness – an awareness not only of what autism is and how we can help, but the awareness of improved integration processes through schools, acting on policies that support these families and our community role that champions a heart of hope for them, and we can all do this together,” Jochebed Isaacs, Director of EAP said in a closing speech.
Among other highlights of the event included a reading session with Subang State assemblyman, YB Hannah Yeoh, who read ‘My Brother is A Bear’ by local illustrator Hsulynn Pang, presentations by kids with autism about their strengths, a dialogue session with EAP kids and an experiential maze that allowed participants to understand more about how someone with autism may feel in different situations and environments. Free initial screenings for autism were also conducted during the event.
For World Autism Awareness Month, EAP has also initiated the ‘Kindness Starts With Me’ school campaign that is focused on developing an attitude of kindness among children and educating them about autism. So far, nearly 3000 students are already part of the programme.
“It is crucial that an attitude and response of kindness towards people with autism or people who seem different in general is cultivated at a young age. Children in schools are the leaders of our next generation and teaching kindness will encourage a more accepting society but more importantly, pave the way for a more progressive nation. We hope to continue this campaign throughout the year,” said Jochebed Isaacs.
EAP Malaysia has been providing services for individuals with autism and their families for more than 10 years. Throughout this time, they’ve worked with more than 300 individuals from 30 different countries and hope to continue to work towards creating a positive impact in the lives of families with autism. The Hope Project was initiated to extend the mission to provide quality and research-based treatment for autism to those who are unable to afford it. The outwork of this vision can be found through campaigns, training services, and video resources that are available online at www.autismmalaysia.com.