KUALA LUMPUR: A national autism council will be formed by this year and a paper on the matter will be presented to the Cabinet soon, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
He said the council, which will be a focal point for autism, would also include other ministries such as Education, Human Resources, Women, Family and Community, as well as the Attorney General's Chambers, private sectors, non-governmental organisations and parents/patients advocates.
"The council will be a place to develop integrated intervention, evidence-based training for parents and a comprehensive platform with a range of information on autism.
"Apart from that, a national clinical autism registry will also be formed with comprehensive information on autism cases in the country. It will also help develop effective interventions for autistic individuals," he said at the Empowering Autism Preparedness and Response workshop, here on Friday (July 15).
Khairy said the council could also look into insurance coverage for those with autism, but added that this would require Bank Negara's opinion.
The Health Ministry uses the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) to test children aged 18, 24 and 36 months old for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Prevalence of ASD in Malaysia is estimated at 1.6 in 1,000 children. It is also more common among boys compared to girls.
In 2021, a total of 372 kids aged four years and below and 217 kids aged between four and 12 years old were diagnosed with ASD.
In 2019, a total of 711 kids were diagnosed with ASD while in 2020, there were 549 kids.