The Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) is Malaysia’s first think-tank dedicated to promoting market-based solutions to public policy challenges. They are an independent not-for-profit organisation with the purpose to advance market-based principles, and are not bound by party politics, race or religion. From IDEAS, the IDEAS Autism Centre (IAC) was formed in 2012.
The inspiration for IAC came about during the early state of a research project by IDEAS called, ‘Giving Voice to the Poor’. This was a study conducted on Malaysian parents’ views on their children’s educational needs. According to the initial stages of the study, parents from low-income backgrounds with autistic children have almost no access to specialised care and therapy sessions due to high costs. Most parents are unable to provide the early intervention care which is crucial in helping their child to adapt to life’s daily challenges. On top of that, the inability to pay for external care usually means that at least one parent has to stop working to care for their autistic child, increasing the financial pressures on these families. IAC was set up as part of IDEAS’ efforts to provide care for those in need, to research and develop a sustainable social enterprise model that can be replicated to help underprivileged children, and at the same time research a working model of early intervention care for autistic children.
IAC is an early intervention service provider which provides holistic early intervention, care, therapy and education to 31 children with autism aged 3 to 9 from low-income households. Parents from low-income backgrounds with autistic children have almost no access to specialised care and therapy sessions due to high costs. Most parents are unable to provide the early intervention care which is crucial in helping their child to adapt to life’s daily challenges. Since its inception in September 2012, the IAC has helped 17 children gain entry into mainstream government schools and continues to support children with autism from the bottom 40 percent through its services, which has in turn helped their families get back on their feet.
It is our honor to announce that in 2017, EAP Malaysia will be partnering with IDEAS Autism Centre as part The Hope Project.
IAC has a total of 9 staff, including an occupational therapist, all of whom have had experience in the field of autism. EAP Malaysia will be partnering through training and workshops in order to provide better services for individuals with autism. We look forward to 2017 and are excited to see what this partnership holds for both parties, and to see the lives that will be impacted.
Watch this video below to hear from Wan Saiful Wan Jan, Chief Executive of IDEAS: