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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26, 2016:

The setting up of Permata Kurnia Centre was a challenging one, said Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, but it was needed to help parents with autistic children.

Having visited the centre today, Rosmah heard from several parents who thanked and praised the setting up of the centre, and urged for more similar centres to be opened nationwide.

“This centre is our pilot project. It is just the beginning because we don’t want the programme to be stuck halfway.

“What we are doing is good and is the best for autistic children. I understand what parents want, but give us some time,” she told parents at the centre here today.

Speaking further on the centre’s establishment, Rosmah said much research and visits went into the planning process, with hopes to expand it nationwide eventually.

“This is not a project I plucked from the air, done just because I’m the Prime Minister’s wife. I don’t do things like that.

“When I want to start something, we discuss first, have meetings. Sometimes from morning till late evening, till midnight even.

“Until Datuk Seri Najib (Razak) tells me my meetings are longer than his cabinet meetings,” she told parents.

Part of the research that went into the planning was visiting a couple of autism centres in San Francisco, she shared, where they learned to adapt to Permata Kurnia.

The centre is one of seven programmes under Permata, set up to provide education programmes for children with autism.

One parent, Andy Amin,33, said that his seven-year-old daughter, whom he enrolled a week ago, was already showing progress from the activities conducted.

Andy was almost in tears as he told those present of his autistic daughter who was bullied in school before she joined Permata Kurnia.

The child, he said, also went from being unable to do daily activities on her own to being more in control of her behaviour after enrolling.

“She is more systematic, she knows when it’s time to play, eat, we can reason with her,” he expressed.

His hope was for the programme to be streamlined with the Ministry of Education, in order to make schools more acceptable to children with autism.

Azlilawati Mohd Jadi, 35, who was a nanny caring for two children with autism, said it was a challenge to care for them.

But the programme, in which the two children she cared for were enrolled in by their parents, had instilled changes in them.

“Today, I’ve seen with my own eyes one of them perform. As a caretaker, I am lost for words over their changes and very excited.

“I also want to thank their mother for taking me along with the children for activities at Permata Kurnia. It has taught me more about autism,” she said.

Having commenced operations in November last year, Rosmah said the centre would be officiated by Najib in March.

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