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A project for autistic people

  • They can become victims of bullyism or exploitation if they were to work outside. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily
  • They need a little more patience from us. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

PUCHONG (Sin Chew Daily) -- Many dream of opening their own cafes. Mohd Adli Yahya's dream was to set up one to help his own autistic son learn to be independent.

"I may live for another ten or twenty years, but he can live for 50. What if my wife and I are gone?"

Adli's 18-year-old son Muhammad Luqman was the reason for him to start the Autism Cafe Project at iM4U Sentral in Puchong.

He told Sin Chew Daily some companies are indeed willing to hire autistic people, but only those with stronger working abilities, adding that some autistic patients need to be taught repetitively before they can handle an assignment.

"They are very straightforward and honest, and can become potential victims of bullyism or exploitation if they were to work outside."

Adli cited the example of a 27-year-old man who worked for eight hours continuously at a restaurant without taking any meal.

"His superior instructed him to work but did not tell him to stop. So he kept working!"

More patience needed

Adli said autistic people may have different characteristics, and some would enter a "frozen" state if reprimanded by the boss.

The father of an autistic person told him even if his son had the certificate, it was difficult for him to compete with other healthy people for a job.

"Outsiders don't understand them, and companies see them as a burden."

He hoped the cafe would provide a safe working environment for them to learn to be independent.

"Autistic people do have some working ability, but we need to have a little more patience with them.

"Instead of relying on foreign workers, perhaps companies should consider hiring locals."

He also said if we discover that our children are autistic, we should learn to accept them instead of confining them at home.

"They should be encouraged to learn things they like. This will help them become more independent."


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