Easy As ABC: Autism Behavioral Center Strives to Continuously Support and Destigmatise All Individuals with Autism
Main image: Standing tall – ABC believes that every single child/individual deserves the best support and life pillars to live a fulfilled life
According to the World Health Organisation, 1 in 100 children worldwide are estimated to have autism. Here in Malaysia, based on data from the Ministry of Health, the number of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnoses have also been steadily rising over the past decade. Established in 2016, Autism Behavioral Center (ABC), the largest award-winning Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) centre in Malaysia, endeavours to provide specialised care and interventions to address this rising demand.
With awareness of autism growing globally, many parents are beginning to learn more about the signs to look out for and what to recognise in their children — however, they may not know where to turn for support through these discoveries. ABC’s goal is to provide support to autistic children and teenagers of various age groups, as well as to assist their caregivers. Furthermore, they offer a high-quality, in-depth curriculum not only to those who are affected with autism, but also other learning difficulties as well. This includes issues such as speech delays, ADHD, and other forms of delays in development.
“Our goal is to help as many people as we possibly can. At ABC, we accept children as young as 16 months but also accommodate teenagers and even adults that require guidance. Through ABA, we are able to teach these individuals the necessary skills to rejoin school and the larger community. Most importantly, we are supervised by a board-certified behaviour analyst, ensuring quality standards for autism treatment,” says Dr. Charlene Marie Samuel, Director of Autism Behavioral Center.
ABC is also able to provide autism screenings for children from 16 – 30 months old that aid in determining their risk levels for autism or other developmental delays, as well as their general school readiness. This is particularly helpful considering the wait lists of prominent developmental paediatricians in Kuala Lumpur, which can be as long as 2 – 3 years; ABC can use their own data to intervene much earlier, significantly impacting the overall quality of life for these children.
In order to accommodate the wide spectrum of ASD characteristics and obstacles, programmes at ABC are individualised for each student, with 1 therapist per student in private classrooms. Meanwhile — considering the lack of business regulations when it comes to supporting developmentally delayed individuals — ABC also ensures that all their therapists possess a university-level certification in relevant fields and receive 200+ hours of personalised training before being assigned to work with anyone. This level of attention to detail and focus on industry-standard regulations is absolutely crucial to address the rising number of ASD diagnoses.
As a matter of fact, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, ABC emerged as one of the pioneering prevention centres. Notably, throughout the lockdown phase, the facility experienced a significant surge in admissions — despite restricted operational capacities — for children with autism, speech delays, and other behavioural challenges, as parents working from home began to more easily identify the associated symptoms.
This only furthered their drive towards contributing to community resources, education, and awareness regarding autism. As part of their work in reducing the stigmatisation of ASD and increasing understanding of the disorder among the Malaysian populace, ABC is also well on its way to open a specialised school in January 2025. This school will be tailored to meet the educational needs of children who may not achieve age-related milestones or who might struggle within the conventional educational system due to their unique skill sets.
At the heart of it all, ABC aims to expand its services nationwide, ensuring accessibility to quality interventions for all, including rural areas. For smaller states, they will emphasise parental training, which aims to reduce costs while continuing to provide effective therapy for individuals. In larger states, they hope to maintain their existing service model with more therapy centres. For more information, go to https://abcautism.com.my/