On 29th September 2021, the School of Education in collaboration with Plymouth University, United Kingdom, organized a Special Educational Needs (SEN) webinar titled “Autism in Malaysia and UK: Prospects and Challenges”. Eight academics from Malaysia and UK shared their knowledge and research-based experiences in supporting children with autism disorder spectrum. This webinar was moderated by Dr Logendra Stanley Ponniah. Approximately 130 participants joined the webinar simultaneously on Zoom and YouTube.
In her opening remarks, Associate Prof. Dr. Suanne Gibson highlighted the concept of “Civic University”, which optimises research impact, knowledge exchange activities and global partnerships to the benefit of society and economy. Associate Prof. Dr. Rebecca Stancer and Mrs. Tara Vassallo shared their Systemic Autism-related Family Enabling (SAFE) project — a family therapy-based intervention for families of autistic children. Associate Prof. Dr. Janet Georgeson then shared her experiences in using robotics to make primary curriculum more inclusive for autistic children.
Next, Dr. Shyielathy Arumugam explained inclusive education in terms of policies, curriculum and support system in Malaysian national schools. The Enabling Learning at Home (ElaH) team presented their pilot study on the development of a home learning pack to support families of autistic children in UK and Malaysia. This team was led by Dr. Victora Bamsey. The team members were Mr. Jack Whitfield, Dr. Lee Yee Ling and Ms. Tasnim Jannat Nijhu.
Questions asked during the Q & A session included mainstream teachers’ preparedness for inclusive education, ways to develop SEN children’s tacit knowledge and SEN child-parent attachment. This webinar contributed to raising awareness on the needs to support autistic children and their families through research.