KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 4 — Sunway Putra Mall, which was Malaysia’s first autism-friendly mall, recently continued its efforts to bridge divides by hosting its first “Autsome Resource Fair”.
Held from October 31 to November 3, the festival aimed to be a platform for job opportunities, training and educational programmes for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
This is another programme by the mall after it opened a “Calm Room” on the lower ground level, and “Sensory Walls” on levels 2 and 3 of the mall in February this year.
A second “Calm Room” was opened on Level 3 in conjunction with the festival.
Calm Rooms are designed towards individuals on the spectrum when they experience a sensory overload or meltdown.
Items such as bean bags, throw pillows, weighted blankets are provided while there is also an art and reading corner where one can read books, play jigsaw puzzles or doodle.
The room is also equipped with a Lounge Area for parents.
Autsome, meanwhile is an initiative by the mall to educate the public and advocate acceptance and inclusiveness.
It also strives to celebrate togetherness with the autism community in line with Sunway’s commitment to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals to reduce inequalities and to have sustainable cities and communities.
Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching, who launched the festival, said the ministry believed that education was for everyone and worked towards a “zero reject” policy.
“Special needs children would be able to receive education corresponding to their abilities, either through mainstream schools via the Inclusive Education Programme (PPI), the Special Education Integrated Programme (PPKI) or the Special Education School (SPK) for primary and secondary levels,” she said.
Sunway Group has been working in collaboration with social enterprise GOLD (Generating Opportunities for Learning Disabilities); where individuals are trained to acquire vocational skills and help build up their self-confidence for future employment.
“This resource fair marks another chapter as the mall expands their outreach to individuals with intellectual disabilities and it serves as a platform that links other organisations towards building a collective momentum for all communities to spearhead greater and deeper changes in providing equal education and career opportunities,” said Sunway malls chief operating officer Kevin Tan in a press release.