Sabah planning school for children with autism

KOTA KINABALU: Plans are under way to set up a school for children with autism this year, says state Community Development and People’s Well-being Minister Datuk James Ratib.

He said the Sabah government hopes to get a pilot project off the ground by the end of the year with the state Welfare Department funding it.

A working paper on it is being prepared for the state Cabinet to consider the proposal, he added.

Ratib said there are some 14,000 children with autism in Sabah and it is necessary for the state to help address the issue, especially in providing a school for them.

“Setting up such a school will help because fees at private schools for special needs children are very expensive.

“The move to set up the school will help ease the financial burden of parents with autistic children,” he said during the installation of the Sabah Association of Senior Citizens here yesterday.

On the alleged abuse of a four-year-old boy at a childcare centre in Luyang here two weeks ago, Ratib said the matter is under police investigation. “We are monitoring the issue as it is a very serious matter,” he said.

In the meantime, he said, the Welfare Department is making arrangements with all childcare operators to brief and update them on the need to constantly ensure children under their care are safe.

“The department and authorities will also carry out spot checks at registered childcare centres.”

Ratib also said a hotline may be set up for people to complain about childcare centres.

A 27-year-old caregiver was arrested by the police in connection with the boy’s abuse at the centre after CCTV footage showed the assault. The parents had lodged a report.

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Sabah , Schoolchildren , Autism , school , children , autism


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