Fatimah: Over 100 children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Sibu last year

Fatimah (bottom tile) speaking with David Ngu (top left tile) and Lawrence Cheah (top right tile) during the talks on “"Fathering Autism” held online, today (June 18, 2021).

KUCHING, June 18: More than 100 children were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Sibu last year, said Minister of Welfare, Community Well-being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah.

According to Fatimah, as ASD is increasingly becoming more common in the community, parental involvement as well as nurturing is important to develop the potential of ASD children.

“With appropriate intervention, attention and continual support from families, ASD children can attain a better quality of life during their early formative years as well as the transition from adolescence into adulthood.

“Therefore, families should be actively involved in their various stages of growth from young until adulthood,” she said when launching the “Fathering Autism”, organised by Sibu Autistic Association, held online via Facebook, today.

Fatimah pointed out that research over the last 30 years has found that positive engagement from fathers, alongside the input of mothers, led to a range of educational and psychological benefits for children.

She said based on a research conducted by the Leeds Beckett University on the father’s engagement in care, play and education of their children with autism, it was found that many men were significantly involved in these areas, where most are usually in close collaboration with mothers.

“This study shows that professionals, who work with autistic children, need to be aware of the important role that fathers play alongside mothers, in the lives of children with autism. Thus, they need to develop more effective ways of supporting both parents,” added Fatimah.

She asserted when talking about nurturing children, especially special needs ones, mothers are often the ones most depended on.

However, she emphasised that with the present trend of both parents working, fathers are now more involved than in the past, in the children’s upbringing, sharing the responsibilities with mothers.

“Involvement of fathers in parenting results in better developmental outcomes for children in terms of thinking skills, language and behaviour,” she said. — DayakDaily