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PETALING JAYA: The government must regulate autism development centres as profit-minded people without professional qualifications and experience are rapidly opening these centres, child behaviour consultant Sitra Panirsheeluam said.

She said the lack of regulations and proper supervision led to some parents opening such centres.

“These parents do not hold the right qualifications and are not professionally trained to treat children with autism,” she said.

Sitra also claimed those who were not trained to care for autistic patients were managing most autistic-related non-governmental organisations.

“There needs to be proper regulations to help parents be more aware and to be trained in coping with autistic patients.

“These centres should develop individualised education plans, which cater for autistic patients.

“The programme should include diagnosis and the history of the patient,” she said.

“The government has yet to enhance the treatment of these disorders through the implementation of formal screening practices.

“There is a lack of clinical psychologist to assess patients with autism. Most patients are not getting diagnosed because the cost of diagnosis is high and treatments to help overcome autism symptoms are not affordable.”

Sitra warned that the lack of behaviour therapy could affect the schooling of autistic children and they did not learn socially appropriate behaviour.

Sitra cited an incident in September when a 22-year-old autistic man was arrested on allegations of molestation.

He was taken to court but the application was rejected. Later, he was freed on police bail.

The arrest sparked a debate on whether the authorities were trained to handle cases involving people like him.

Sitra said early intervention would help a child overcome his disability and help him adapt

Original Article Published on The Star HERE

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