April 11, 2014

Jakarta, Indonesia – Indonesian Autism Awareness Society in cooperation with the Jakarta administration has opened the city’s first free autism center.

The center was opened a year after Governor Joko Widodo declared Jakarta to be “autism-friendly”. The center will provide care for children with autism and especially those from low income families. Autism Daily Newscast reported on the story back in March which you can read here.

The Jakarta Post reports that Deputy Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama said during the opening ceremony that:

“If the children come from wealthy families, there is no problem as their parents have easy access to all kinds of treatment and education. However, children with autism from poorer families have very limited choices,”

Ahok also said the city would provide training programs for medical officers in community health centers (Puskesmas) to have a better understanding about autism.

“We will be focusing the distribution of our grants and social aid on organizations that have dedicated many years to such humane endeavors,”

Mpati chairwoman Gayatri Pamoedji said the autism center will be able to provide free diagnoses for autistic children as well as free training to their parents.

“The center is prioritized for autistic children from low-income families,”

The training program focuses on teaching children the basic skills needed for everyday life such as taking showers, eating and drinking. It is all based upon the child learning to become independent as possible.

Underprivileged parents who have children with autism or suspected autism are being encouraged to contact the center.

Gayatri Pamoedji said:

“The diagnoses will be held every first and third Wednesday while the free training will be every second and fourth Wednesday,”

The Jakarta Post reports that Indonesia has no reliable data on autism cases. Yayasan Autisme Indonesia estimated the number of people with autism at one per 500 children in 2000, an increase from one per 5,000 children in the previous 10 years.

The original article by Corry Elyda on the Jakarta Post website can be read here


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