Becoming Autism Friendly
What an amazing World Autism Awareness Month we just had last April! The theme that we chose this year is “Becoming Autism Friendly”. We were honoured to have various organisations come on board to make their spaces and work environment autism friendly. These organisations include Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC), UNIQLO, Chatime Thomson Hospital, Parenthood, Sunway Pyramid and Hospital Tunku Azizah! We are also in the midst of partnering with other organisations who are also respectively taking steps to become more autism-friendly among their spaces , platforms and individuals. So do contact us if you would like to be a part of these initiatives!
We also released our annual campaign video and this year, we featured 3 autism-friendly organisations (GSC, UNIQLO and Hospital Tunku Azizah), their efforts and shared how a family experienced these outlets with their child with autism. Do check out our video on our Youtube page!
WAAM Launch and Celebration Event
On the 1st of April, we had a World Autism Awareness Month Launch and Celebration Event and it was our first physical event for WAAM since the pandemic! We were privileged to have partnered with Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) for the location of the event which was held at GSC 3 Damansara Play+ cinema. Our event was launched by the founder of Autism Cafe Project, En. Adli and our campaign video was launched by Miss World Malaysia 2022, Ms Wenanita Angang. We were honoured to have Mervin Jayaseela to speak on the topic of “Supporting Families with Autism Diagnosis”. Our EAP Director, Jochebed Isaacs then gave a workshop titled “Autism in Malaysia”. We also had our BCBA’s, Charmaine and Rachel up for a Q & A session.
We had various partners who also opened their booths and these include Gem & Bread, Nozig, Autism Cafe Project, STORIES, Cindy Hor Hair and Makeup and even our very own Life Skills Group boys who sold Trail Mixes which they made themselves!
We saw a total of almost 100 registered participants who graced us with their attendance at our 2-hour launch event. We thank each and every one who joined us for the celebration and hope it was an impactful one for all!
After our launch event, our EAP team went out for an outreach to 10 different autism-friendly outlet locations as part of our initiative to raise awareness and acceptance of autism in the afternoon! Our teams were at GSC (3 Damansara, 1 Utama, Tropicana Gardens Mall, Paradigm Mall & Starling Mall), UNIQLO (DA Square and Fahrenheit), Parenthood (Sunway Pyramid and MYTown) and CHATIME Thomson Hospital. We gave out blue balloons and got people to write special messages for individuals with autism as well as their parents. A total of more than 250 balloons were given out and our team shared about autism awareness to a total of more than 500 people at the locations! We collected about 400 notes on our boards encouraging individuals and families with autism! Some of the notes read “Keep going, stay strong!” and “We are with you!”.
On the 15th of April, we went out of Kuala Lumpur to 3 different states – Penang, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching for an interstate tour. We had our Director, Jochebed and our BCBA, Charmaine speak in Kuching and Kota Kinabalu respectively on the topic of “Basic Teaching Strategies for Autism” whereas our BCBA, Rachel spoke on the topic of “Maximizing Daily Learning” in Penang. A total of more than 220 participants came for the trainings!
A day before on the 14th of April, our supervisors Neesha and Rachel got to visit two centers, KSL Champs and Lighthouse Academy. We’re pleased to hear about the work they are doing in Penang! Charmaine and Michelle, our coordinator for The Hope project, visited NASOM KK as well as Universiti Malaysia Sabah. We are also pleased to hear about the work they are doing all the way in East Malaysia!
We thank GSC for sponsoring the venue of the events in Kuching and Penang and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) for the venue in Kota Kinabalu. We also take the opportunity to thank Disted College in Penang for allowing us to use their premises to conduct screening appointments.
Merchandise and Fund-raising
This year, we also partnered with Building Eliot and Curate by Prince of Pins to launch a new line of merchandise for WAAM 2023 surrounding the theme “Kindness Starts with Me”. Do check out our online store to make a purchase! All proceeds of the merchandise sales will go towards The Hope Project. Thank you Building Eliot and Curate by Prince of Pins in partnering with us to create these beautiful merchandise for autism awareness!
All throughout World Autism Awareness Month in April, we have done autism awareness presentations to 15 schools and will continue to do more in the coming months as well! We had the privilege of speaking to more than 3000 students and held training sessions for about 200 teachers on the topic of “Becoming Autism-Friendly” and how “Kindness Starts with Me!”.
Public Presentations and the Media
We have also done several public presentations for SEGI University and Institut Sosial Malaysia. Aside from that, we have also conducted trainings on “Becoming Autism-Friendly” for Sunway Pyramid’s security and customer care team, Hospital Tun Azizah’s team of doctors and nurses and UNIQLO Store Managers! We are also scheduled to speak and train at more organisations in the next few months including government organisations, hospitals and malls!
EAP was featured in The Sun newspaper along with GSC for our joint partnership for Autism Awareness Month!
Our Director, Jochebed Isaacs was also featured in the media on BernamaTV and Astro Awani speaking about autism awareness this month!
One of the parents of our scholarship kiddos was also featured in Pa & Ma speaking about her experience and how everyone can be autism-friendly!
Our Penang Supervisor, Neeshalini was also interviewed on RTM 2 sharing about autism and what it is like to work in this field!
This year, our partnerships have grown more than ever and we are honoured to be partnering with organisations such as GSC, UNIQLO, Sunway Pyramid, Building Eliot, Curate by Prince of pins, Doughlittle, The Parenthood, CHATIME Thomson Hospital, Universiti Sabah Malaysia, Gem & Bread, Nozig, Autism Cafe Project, STORIES, Cindy Hor Hair and Makeup, Ms Wenanita Angang, EAP Life Skills Group and many more to raise autism awareness all throughout the month of April! Thank you again to every partner!
The Hope Project also partnered with Sunway Pyramid to sponsor fully equipped 3 Toy Libraries for 3 NASOM centers in Titiwangsa, Gombak, and Teluk Pulai.
We are so grateful for all that has happened all throughout World Autism Awareness Month 2023 (WAAM) and for the various partners we have had the opportunity to work with in bringing autism awareness to the next level this year! We would also like to extend our appreciation to everyone who has played a part in raising autism awareness through the sharing of resources, infographics, those who attended our events and made donations towards The Hope Project! Check out our Instagram page @eapmalaysia for updates on upcoming events as well! We look forward to partnering with all of you once again towards creating an inclusive and autism-friendly community together!