Shah Alam, 3rd March 2024 – In the past decade, the rising number of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnoses in Malaysia, as revealed by the Malaysia’s Ministry of Health (MOH). To address the challenge of ASD early detection, the National Autism Resource Center (NARC), College of Computing, Informatics, and Mathematics (KPPIM) recently partnered with Kizzu Kids Rehabilitation and Enrichment Center Shah Alam. Together, they organized a groundbreaking Child Development Screening Initiative (CDSI) workshop at Dewan Al-Ghazali, KPPIM UiTM Shah Alam, drawing enthusiastic participation from educators and professionals across the Klang Valley.

The objective of this workshop was clear: to introduce kindergarten teachers to mobile application-based child development screening. Known as “KiK” (short for “Kesedaran Intervensi Awal Kanak-Kanak”), these applications, developed by Kizzu, aim to detect developmental issues early, particularly in children with autism. The screening encompasses cognitive, motor, speech, and social skills, as well as emotional development. With early detection, educators can better understand and support children’s needs, aligning interventions with associated conditions.

The workshop shop was further enriched with sharing sessions from experts, including Miss Aufa Binti Mustafa, an occupational therapist at Kizzu Kids Rehabilitation and Enrichment Centre. Her talk on “Understanding Child Development” emphasized on the developmental milestones in cognitive, speech, social skills, motor abilities, vision, and hearing, as well as the pivotal role played by parents and educators in consistent monitoring to detect any developmental area that may need immediate medical attention. Mrs. Nurul Syafiqah Binti Abu Hassan, another occupational therapist in the Early Intervention Program (EIP) at the center, delved into “Introduction to Development Disorders,” focusing on ASD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). The talk highlighted symptoms, consequences of late detection, and implications for children’s communication, education, and daily activities

The hands-on workshop was especially enlightening as it involved real case studies on children developmental issues and the utilisation of digital screening tools. Participants gained first-hand experience using the KiK application, receiving it positively, and suggesting its widespread adoption among parents. This proactive approach, aligned with Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4, and 11 (Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, and Sustainable Cities and Communities), ensures timely support for children and equips caregivers with the knowledge and tools for optimal development.

With initiatives like CDSI workshops, UiTM takes a significant step forward in addressing the rising challenges of ASD detection and support, fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment for children’s growth and well-being.