KUCHING: Sarawak will soon have a One-Stop Centre for Children with Special Needs to cater for needy families with intellectually-challenged children.
Minister of Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah said the State Cabinet approved the setting-up of the centre during its cabinet meeting.
?The State Cabinet has approved the setting-up of a One-Stop Centre that provides diagnostic services and early intervention for intellectually-challenged children,? she said at a news conference here.
Fatimah said the centre would offer diagnostic tests to determine whether a child has autism, Down syndrome or other intellectual disabilities.
She said early intervention is crucial when it comes to children with special needs, as it increases the chance and success rate of intellectually-challenged children being rehabilitated.
She also said that the number of autistic children in Sarawak has gone up, but pointed out that increases are also being reported across the world.
?In fact, most autistic children are boys. There is a whole spectrum of autism ? from mild to severe.
?Some parents in Sarawak who can afford it will send their children with special needs to Kuala Lumpur for rehabilitation. Our centre, once established, will cater to those who cannot afford gto do so,? she added.
Fatimah stressed that intervention was crucial to prepare children with special needs for the start of formal education.
According to her, the One-Stop Centre for Children with Special Needs is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) project by Petronas, adding the Sarawak government will work together with the national oil corporation to see to it that the services at the centre are benchmarked against those in Kuala Lumpur.
?This CSR project of Petronas is estimated at RM4 million, and Petronas has agreed to it.?
To a question, Fatimah said the site of the One-Stop Centre will be in the city ? the exact location to be revealed at a later date ? and that the target is to have the centre established by this year.
On another matter, she said 708 applications for citizenship under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution had been processed since the setting-up of the Special Committee on Citizenship Status on Aug 23, 2016.
She noted that these applications had been given priority and would be considered by Home Affairs Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
?These applications from Sarawak are in a basket of its own and the results will be made known faster because this basket is different from other baskets,? she explained.
She said she was hopeful that there would be ?good news? on the matter after the coming Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration next month.
Present with Fatimah at the press conference were Assistant Minister of Community Wellbeing Datuk Francis Harden and Assistant Minister of Women, Family and Childhood Development Rosey Yunus.
Source: Borneo Post