Malai Hj Abdullah Bin Malai Hj Othman
President/CEO - SMARTER Brunei
Thank you and Welcome to our website and for your continuous supports, SMARTER Brunei as a family support group for Brunei wish to share our philosophy and strategies in Understanding and managing Autism as well as caring for our IWA.
As we are all aware Autism Spectrum Disorder is a complex developmental issues with signs typically appear during early childhood and AFFECT A PERSON’S ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE, and INTERACT WITH OTHERS. ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that AFFECTS INDIVIDUALS DIFFERENTLY AND TO VARYING DEGREES.
But unfortunately Autism is seen as a disability, in isolation, not as a person but According to Paul Collins, a disability is usually defined in terms of what is missing. … BUT AUTISM … IS AS MUCH ABOUT WHAT IS ABUNDANT AS WHAT IS MISSING, AN OVER-EXPRESSION OF THE VERY TRAITS THAT MAKE OUR SPECIES UNIQUE. ” — yet we, the family, feel discriminated, marginalized and labelled as nuisance, trouble maker and impatient. SOCIETY forgets the IMPACT AUTISM HAS UPON the family in the form of Social isolation and rejection, Emotional tensions, Physical exhaustion and Financial burden.
Please remember we, the parents, siblings and family members, are with our Individuals With Autism for 24/7. Having to COPE and DEAL with their Social communication issues which results in challenging behavior and LACK OF APPROPRIATE SUPPORT. We are left to our own devices to COPE. Thus, the reason SMARTER Brunei was started as a SUPPORT SYSTEM for Families of Individuals With Autism (IWAs) 15 years ago.
AUTISM AWARENESS is getting better but awareness without ACCEPTANCE is our biggest Challenge, Obstacle, Set back and Threat (C.O.S.T) which is faced by IWAs and Family members as well as SMARTER. Once there is acceptance, there will be an APPROPRIATE ACTION PLAN to turn the P.E.S.T that is Limited Political will to help us advocate their rights, Economic, Educational constraints, Social indifference and injustice and lastly minimal Technical infrastructure into a STEP into the right direction of Social acceptance,Technical support, Educational freedom, Emotional Support, and finally, Political commitment. We also need to transform PEST into PETS that is the needs to implement the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Different Abilities, using PETS, Projecting a positive image with respect, Educating everyone, starting with the family, Training all of those involved, Skill development for the person living with autism, their family and their community, by giving us F.A.C.E. that is to be more Facilitating (flexible), Accepting, Collaborating and Embracing us into society.
SMARTER strategy is using the W.I.S.E. Approach (Welcoming, Inviting, Supporting and Encouraging) which is more humanistic and we do not use C.D. (Command and Demand or Control and Discipline). SMARTER’s program was developed and evolved according to the needs of each IWA and our Curriculum is F.A.S.T.
FLEXIBILITY. Materials are SIMPLE and EASY TO MAKE by everyone including the parents and the child. It is EASY TO REPLACE, ADD ON and UPGRADE.
ACCESSIBILITY. The materials are easily AVAILABLE, ACCESSIBLE and ACCOUNTABLE to the IWAs, teachers, family, friends and the community AT ANYTIME they want.
SUSTAINABILITY. Uses LOW COST, LOW-TECH materials that are ABUNDANTLY AVAILABLE in their community to purchase, maintain and upgrade the materials.
TEACHABILITY (TRANSFERABILITY) INDIVIDUALIZED and PERSONALIZED, SYSTEMATIC, SEQUENTIAL, STRUCTURED and the materials used are INTERACTIVE as an avenue for ACTIVE PARTICIPATION.
SMARTER’s holistic approach of doing everything every day, by and with everyone always and the success of our program is heavily dependent on the magic P.I.L.L that every family is looking for which is Parent Involvement Life Long. Without the parent and family involvement, nothing works; without LOVE, everything fails.
We ensure the invisible expectation is VISIBLE to our IWAs through our strategy of giving them a W.I.D.E.R. perspective of expectation: Write it out, Illustrate it, Demonstrate it,Explain it, Repeat it and Reinforce.