What does love mean to you? Ask a child who has autism spectrum disorder and you may not get an answer. However, give him colour pencils and paper and he is likely to show you.
Artistic interpretations of love by children who are part of the National Autistic Society of Malaysia feature on limited-edition T-shirts Nasom and Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) have launched in conjunction with World Autism Month.
World Autism Awareness Day is celebrated every April 2 to draw attention to the hurdles people with the developmental disability and others living with it face daily. Autism spectrum disorder is characterised by repetitive behaviours, communication difficulties and problems with social interaction, and those affected need to feel safe and accepted.
Nasom’s hand-drawn designs by members aged between five and 19 are one highlight of its year-long #LovingAutism campaign. Funds raised from the sale of the tees — available on GSC’s e-commerce site and at selected Keepsake kiosks at Tropicana Garden Mall and The Starling Mall, both in Petaling Jaya — will be used for activities that include workshops themed Becoming Autism Friendly at GSC halls nationwide.
Last year, GSC started sensory-friendly halls where children with autism spectrum disorder can enjoy screenings with lowered volume and dimmed lights as well as have a designated area for break time. They can bring along toys and other comfort items and tuck into special dietary food and drinks, if needed.
Tickets are priced at RM9 for these screenings, held every second Sunday of the month at GSC outlets in 3 Damansara in Petaling Jaya, Kuantan City Mall, Mid Valley Southkey in Johor Baru and AEON Falim in Ipoh.
This article first appeared on Apr 17, 2023 in The Edge Malaysia.