| Syazwani Hj Rosli |
A PUBLIC forum on “Current Trends and Strategies in Autism” was held yesterday at Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
The forum was organised by the Society for the Management of Autism Related Issues in Training, Education and Resources (SMARTER) Brunei in collaboration with the Australian Government and supported by the Australian Trade Commission in Brunei Darussalam.
The guest of honour was Todd Mercer, Australian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam. Also present was Malai Haji Abdullah bin Malai Haji Othman, the President of SMARTER Brunei.
The forum opened with the recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah and Doa Selamat, led by Imam Pengiran Mohd Sallihin bin Pengiran Tajuddin, followed with an opening remark by Ak Ameer Al-Qaweem bin Tuan Yang Terutama Pengiran Haji Kamal Bashah, a member of Autism from BACA.
Todd Mercer, in his speech, emphasised his statement on several interventions on autism and to expose the autistic individuals in a broader society.
At the same time, he also discussed bringing interns to Brunei for a three-week attachment scheduled sometime in September.
Throughout their attachment programme, the interns will be given an opportunity to learn more approaches on autism from Bruneian perspective.
The forum – highlighting autism-related issues particularly on the current theories, approaches and practical strategies and disabilities studies – saw two invited speakers, Associate Professor Caroline Ellison from Finders University Australia and Debbie Smith, who were flown in from Australia.
Debbie Smith discussed the initiatives and programmes that has been taken by SMARTER Brunei in further developing the centre and covers specific issues on DSM-V changes in diagnostic criteria, current theories and approaches as well as useful and practical took and strategies.
Meanwhile, Associate Professor Caroline Ellison presented her discussion on disability and services delivery tend, National Disability Insurance Scheme that being introduced in Australia and Person-Centred approached to support.
The forum yesterday acted as guidance for families whose members or children are diagnosed with autism and helps to discuss new information or issues related to autism.