Well Being

Autism Numbers in Malaysia

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The Star (Malaysia) notes that 1 in 625 Malaysian children is autistic, which would be a much lower prevalence rate than the 1 in 150 figure among children in the US. But some think otherwise:

If this were to be taken as a standard in Malaysia, there would be more than 3,000 new cases each year nationwide.

Said [National Autism Society of Malaysia (Nasom) chairman Teh Beng Choon]: “The question is how different are we in Malaysia from the US? That’s a pretty scary number. Everyone should be concerned.”

Dr Hasnah Toran, a senior lecturer in Early Intervention, Autism and Assessment from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Education Faculty, believed the situation in Malaysia is closer to that of the US as revealed by the recent research.

“There are various problems with the survey conducted in Malaysia (which said that one in 625 Malaysian children is autistic). For one, it was only conducted in Perak [one of the 13 states of Malaysia]. That represents only the tip of an iceberg in relation to the birth rate around the country. I’m not convinced (of the figures) because each time I walk into a school, I can see some students displaying autistic symptoms,” she said.

Suggests the difference that awareness and understanding of autism can make, wherever in the world you are.