Hundreds of autistic children participate in ASEAN autism games

Jakarta, (ANTARA News) - As many as 220 autistic children from countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are participating in the 4th ASEAN Autism Games (AAG) in Jakarta on October 20-21, 2018.

"Two sports held at the AAG are 50- and 100-meter swimming as well as 50- and 100-meter running. There are two categories, with one for 11- to 15-year-olds and the other for those who are 16 years and above," Deputy Chair of the Indonesian Autism Foundation (YAI) Dr. Adriana S. Ginanjar informed reporters here on Friday.

In addition to these two sports, the participants can play traditional Indonesian games and the game of dodgebee that can increase interaction among the participants and serve as a form of physical exercise. Yet, it is safe to play, as the game involves the use of a dodgebee, which is a soft disc made of foam but can be hurled into the air and caught.

She added that during the games, AAG participants with special needs will be accompanied by their parents or other family members.

"Not all these children can complete the games they are playing. However, this is indeed not the main goal of the AAG," Adriana stated, adding that the AAG is an event to develop the ability of the participants and to build awareness of children with autism among families and communities.

Meanwhile, Dong Uy Koe from the Executive Council of the ASEAN Autism Network remarked that it was time for children with autism to showcase their talents in various activities in the community.

"Parents, professionals, academics, and practitioners have often been involved in various congress and seminars that discuss autism. Now, it is time we showcase children with autism, so that people realize their presence and make these children part of their lives," Dong stated.

She emphasized that although not all AAG participants completed the games, none of them would be left behind.

"They will be with their families because in autism, family comes first," she noted.

Autism is a developmental disorder in children due to which they face difficulties in communicating with those around them. The condition of autism differs from person to person, but with special therapy and attention, especially from families, autistic children can grow well, and several of them graduate from colleges in various educational programs with satisfactory results.

The AAG 2018 is a collaboration of the YAI, London School of Public Relations Jakarta, London School Center for Autism Awareness, Asia Pacific Development Center of Disability, the Japanese Government, and Thailands Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.

The AAG 2018 is also supported by the ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Autism Mapping, the ASEAN Autism Network, and the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund.

At the 4th AAG, Indonesia is represented by 179 participants, six participants from the Philippines, 13 from Myanmar, three from Vietnam, five from Singapore, nine from Malaysia, and one each from Laos and Thailand.

The AAG had earlier been held in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Myanmar.

Source: ANTARA News

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