New Autism Center set up for the poor

Lumintang field, Denpasar, Indonesia – The Denpasar administration have started operations on its newly established autism center (PLA), it’s priority is to serve underprivileged people.

The autism center is one of 20 that the central government intends to build.

PLA coordinator I Nyoman Handika said that the construction and equipment cost Rp 3 billion (US$259,034) and Rp 1.5 billion respectively. This was paid by the government.

Handika said that the center is equipped with therapy rooms for communication, occupational and physiotherapy. There will also be a library and spaces for children to play.

Several other facilities should be added within the next few months, including an IT room and a swimming pool.

He told the Bali Daily:

“We target finishing construction for these by this year. We will also assign medical personnel so that more children can make use of the facilities,”

Handika said that Denpasar has been offering therapy for autistic children since 2010.

“We do hope that this center can reach a wider range of people in the future,”

Darmawan the Centers deputy said:

“We target poor families. We consider the time and money applicants have to spend should they come to Denpasar every day,”

80 children use the facility and range from 3 to 18. They are divided into classes depending on their condition.

Handika said:

“We don’t divide them by age, but by their condition. We give them specific materials that could help them be independent in their daily activities, such as to speak, dress and eat,”

Subjects from the regular school curriculum would be given once the children were considered capable of following them.

Denpasar Mayor Ida Bagus Rai Dharmawijawa Mantra acknowledged that PLA was still lacking in many aspects but that he was fully committed to improving them.

“While waiting for the facility construction to be finished, we will check thoroughly how much this center would need per year, so we could allocate the right amount from the regional budget.”

The original article by Wasit Atmodjo on the Bali Daily website can be read here