IN conjunction with Autism Awareness Month, SEGi University held an Autism Awareness Day on April 7 at their Kota Damansara Campus, in Selangor. Organised by the Counseling Unit of the Student Affairs Division of the university, the purpose of the talk was to increase the students understanding and awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder, and debunking myths surrounding the disorder, especially Asperger Syndrome.
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) describes a range of conditions classified as neurodevelopment disorders in the DSM-5, used by the American Psychiatric Association.
Since the 1970s, many fictional portrayals of people with autism and Asperger syndrome, have become widespread in novels, biographies, and movies; often based on inaccurate media representations which have influenced public perception and put autistic people and autism in a negative light.
As such, the Autism Awareness Day aims to debunk the myth, and show that there is hope for people living with ASD or Asperger Syndrome. The special guest was Delwin Cheah, the first and youngest savant artist to hold a solo art exhibition in the country. Delwin was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at the age of 5, but his work has been recognised and endorsed by well-known people such as Queen Elizabeth II, President Barack Obama, and Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh.
In collaboration with SEGi, The BrandLaureate’s CEO Chew Bee Peng gave a speech entitled “Build Your Brand, Don’t Let Disorder Get You Down” citing the case of Delwin, who has brilliantly overcomed his challenges with the help of his parents. “Today, Delwin’s achievements has made the country proud, and this is how we give hope to autistic children for a brighter future,” she said.
Chew added many famous world personalities including scientists, inventors, artistes, and musicians were also autistic, but their ability to rise above their disorders have impacted the world, adding that many autistic people do not let the disorder define them, but have successfully overcomed their limitations.
This was followed by a speech by Delwin’s mom Erina Law, who spoke on the challenges the family went through, and one of the keys to Delwin’s success was living a life of discipline.
Other guests of honour present at the event include Datuk Mohamed Azahari Mohamed Kamil, Group President of SEGi University & Colleges Dato’ Professor Dr. Jamaludin Mohaiadin, Group Chief Student Affairs Officer, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, and President of The BrandLaureate DrKKJohan.
After the talk, guests proceeded for a tour of the exhibition area where Delwin’s artwork were displayed.