Local News Paper about Learning Ladders Society

New hope for parents with autistic kids 

May 23, 2008

Raising awareness: HRH Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah (C) watches a Learning Ladders child during the launching of Learning Ladders and autism awareness at Empire Hotel and Country Club.

Starting off as a group of families who came together to discuss the methods of improving the early diagnosis and early intervention of ASD, the number of parents participating in the meetings grew and the group decided to establish themselves formally as a non-profit organisation in 2007.

The president of the society, Dr Sharina Hj Yunus spoke about the challenges encountered by parents in raising their autistic children. She said that "tremendous strain" can be placed upon the family since parents can often feel alone when facing their problems.

The Learning Ladders society provided "emotional support" to those parents by sharing information and educating them on the disorder.

Being a parent of an autistic child herself, Dr Sharina said that there was hope for these children to develop to their maximum potential. The society supported the implementation of ABA, or Applied Behaviour Analysis, which has been scientifically proven to improve the outcome of children with ASD.

"What works for one child (with autism) may not necessarily work for another," she said. The society provided its members with an opportunity to "explore the benefits of ABA".

Shamsuddin Hj Kamaluddin, the husband of Norhaslinda Ibrahim, the society's vice president and the father of Raiyyan Iman, one of the 18 autistic children involved in the society shared his experiences as a parent affected by ASD with The Brunei Times.

"He doesn't respond to me. He knows I'm there but he doesn't choose to talk to me," he said. Shamsuddin then showed The Brunei Times what he meant by calling his son's name as he walked by. Raiyyan showed no signs of physical acknowledgement of his father's presence, despite standing less than a metre away from him.

"He's in a world of his own," Shamsuddin explained. He also stated that since Kerri Wilson, a behavioural therapist associated with Learning Ladders, worked with Raiyyan using the ABA technique, the five-year-old has been able to recognise certain objects and "attach some meaning to them".

The Australian expert who has had 17 years experience in behavioural analysis said that ABA was a "tool to measure the behaviour of children". She re-teaches the children from the very beginning and persuades them to imitate her and to communicate to her in their way.

In Raiyyan's case, she told The Brunei Times that he was initially a "non-verbal child" but after several sessions, he has improved and can say 'mama and baba'. She also added that his "receptive language was very high".

Dr Sharina also announced the society's future plan of opening a Learning Ladders learning centre, which would provide ABA therapy for autistic children. In the realisation of this goal, the society has made a proposal for a pilot project to which yesterday's event saw six sponsors signing pledges to the project.

A video presentation was also shown during the launch, which showcased "how autism has touched some families in Brunei and illustrates the unbreakable nature of the human spirit". After the ceremony, Her Royal Highness had the chance to interact with some of the children and meet some of the therapists from the society.

Courtesy of Ubaidillah Masli, The Brunei Times


CfBT donates learning aid for autistic children

Apr 22nd, 2009
Learning: (Top) English Language Teaching Primary manager, Centre 
for British Teachers (CfBT) Education Services, Juliet Cowly (L) donates
 learning materials to President of Learning Ladders Society, Dr Sharina
 Yunus (R) at CfBT, Kiarong. (Above) Society for the Management of 
Autism Related Issues in Training, Education and Resources (Smarter) 
Annisa Hj Moksin (L) receives materials by Sophie Dato Hamid, CfBT's 
office manager. Pictures: BT/Khairi Razak
Learning: (Top) English Language Teaching Primary manager, Centre for British Teachers (CfBT) Education Services, Juliet Cowly (L) donates learning materials to President of Learning Ladders Society, Dr Sharina Yunus (R) at CfBT, Kiarong. (Above) Society for the Management of Autism Related Issues in Training, Education and Resources (Smarter) Annisa Hj Moksin (L) receives materials by Sophie Dato Hamid, CfBT's office manager. Pictures: BT/Khairi Razak

THE Centre for British Teachers (CfBT) yesterday donated books and educational materials to Smarter Brunei (Society for the Management of Autism Related Issues in Training, Education and Resources) and the Learning Ladders Society to benefit in the reinforcement of reading and writing to children diagnosed with autism.

The centre’s English Language Teaching Primary manager, Juliet Cowly said that the learning materials donated included synthetic phonics storybooks and educational toys, which will “boost the two institutions in their advancement of teaching autistic children to read and write”.
Present to receive the donations on behalf of the Learning Ladders Society was its president, Dr Sharina Yunus who extended her gratitude towards CfBT for the learning materials donated to autistic children, which will benefit their educational development.

“The learning materials received will be placed in our resource library at the centre. Parents are able to borrow the learning materials for children with autism, development delay and other learning disabilities.”
She further added that the learning materials received were applicable in the reinforcement of education for 50 children and adults currently registered at the Learning Ladders Society centre.
A Smarter Brunei representative, vice-secretary Annisa Hj Moksin said that the learning materials will be used to conduct classes with autistic children.

Courtesy of The Brunei Times

Royal Support For Learning Ladders Society 

May 23, 2008
Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Salleh Ab Rahaman yesterday attended the official launching of the Learning Ladders Society, a society for early intervention of autism and other developmental and learning disabilities.
Also attending the event was the Deputy Minister of Health, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Paduka Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah, diplomats, parents and other government officials.
Registered in 2007, the society was founded by a dedicated group of parents who wantedto help improve early diagnosis and early intervention services in the country. 

"Raising a child with autism is challenging and puts a tremendous strain on the family, both financially and emotionally ... parents sometimes face rejection, criticism, and even isolation," said Dr Sharina Hj Yunus, President of the Learning Ladders Society, in her opening speech.
Primarily formed to provide the much-needed emotional support, she added that through the society parents are able to gain support, share information and educate themselves on the best ways to help their children.
Being the second most common developmental disability, Dr Sharina asserted that one of the most successful intervention strategies for autism lies with Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and members are given the opportunity to explore its benefits. 

"ABA is a scientifically proven and well-researched technique and is widely practised as a means of improving the outcome of children with autism," she said.
She also expressed appreciation for the efforts of the government and other non-governmental organisations involved with managing autism.
"It is well-known that no two autistic children are alike," she stated as being the reason it is called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). "What works for one child may not necessarily work for another."
With an estimated one out of every 150 children born everyday diagnosed with some form of ASD, the society's presence in the community, she asserted, simply provides parents with more options to help their child. 

Records show that in Brunei there is an estimated 400 known cases of ASD.
According to Kerri Wilson, a Behavioural Therapist for the Learning Ladders, children with autism need motivating reinforcers to learn. "It's about breaking down all the things that the children do into little steps and teaching those explicitly step-by-step until we get the child into a more normal state of development."
Riana Aji, mother of five-year-old Raiyan Omar Jefri, said that her son was diagnosed a year ago and despite having enrolled him in kindergarten, engaging him in conversation was difficult and he began developing ritualistic and obsessive behaviour. "After meeting Kerri... we realised that in the first four years his mind probably didn't compute all the things that he was seeing... and when we began ABA therapy... the progress has been amazing. 

When asked how the therapy has helped her son, she said, "The way that they are being taught opens (their minds) and he has improved a lot in the five months (of therapy). Although Raiyan is academically able (having been promoted to Primary One), Riana added, "There is still a long way (to develop) his expressive language and social skills. 

"Learning Ladders is now my family as no one else could know what we are going through," she said, adding that the lessons she has learned from the society has been invaluable to her as a parent.
In their endeavour to establish a Learning Centre, which provides intensive ABA Therapy to a small number of autistic children, the society has received generous pledges from the business community.
Representatives from DST, Premium Ford Motors, Grand Motors, P'fection Beauty Concept, Aifa Sdn Bhd and Sunlit Advertising were present for the signing ceremony to mark the occasion and as a symbol of the society's appreciation for their support.
Prior to the signing ceremony, guests viewed a short video, which personalised some of the issues faced by those affected by autism.
Her Royal Highness was then presented a pesembah of works of art by some of the children, after which she met with the therapists and parents, and interacted with the children. 

courtesy of Narissa Noor, Borneo Bulletin. 


A Salon to hold charity hair services campaign

Oct 29th, 2009 

IN CONJUNCTION with its fifth year anniversary, Inspiration Alan Salon will be organising a “Charity Hair Services” campaign at The Mall in Gadong on Sunday, November 1, from 10am onwards.
The campaign, which is open to the public, is aimed at raising funds for Learning Ladders Society, a registered non-profit society that promotes early intervention for children with neurological disorders.
Datin Hjh Saidah bte Hj Mohammad Said, wife of the Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office, is expected to attend as guest of honour at the event. Ten children from Learning Ladders will also be present at the fundraiser, accompanied by their parents or guardians.

In addition, IA Salon has also invited bikers from Pemoda, Harley Owners Group Brunei Chapter and Sport Bikers to help raise funds.
Some 50 members of the Harley Owners Group will make an appearance to give donations and will also provide bike rides around The Mall building to any interested donors.
Before the event comes to a close, IA Salon owner Mdm Cecilia will count the money from the transparent box that will be placed on the cashier’s counter.
IA Salon will later hand over the proceeds to Dr Sharina from the Learning Ladders Society.
Meanwhile, all the cash proceeds from hair services rendered will be 100 per cent donated to the society.
Also as part of its charity efforts, IA Salon is also inviting the public to a Hair Expo Workshop to be conducted by Dr Lee, hairstylist and make-up artist from Taiwan, on. November 2, and a customer service event the following day.
Learning Ladders Society (LLs) is a registered non-profit society for children with autism, brain injury, development delay, dyslexia and other learning disabilities.
The society was launched by Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pg Anak Sarah in May 2008, with the main objective of helping special children to develop their maximum potential.
LLS supports the implementation of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), which has been scientifically proven to improve the outcome of children with autism.
The society is currently expanding its facilities and is in need of funds to purchase infrastructure and educating materials as well as to hire ABA qualified and experienced professionals.

Courtesy of Edwin Eng,  Borneo Bulletin


Learning Ladders strives to help children with autism

Oct 31st, 2009 

WHAT started as a parent support group has now grown into a society. Cofounded by Dr Sharina Yunus and Norhaslinda Ibrahim, the Learning Ladders Society has made some strides since its establishment.
Dr Sharina and Norhaslinda are mothers of autistic children. They had started Learning Ladders
Society with the help of Dr Terry Fairclough as an alternative treatment to help children with neurological disorders.

Sharing their experience, they said that the children with neurological disorders are very different from other children where they can roll around and scream for hours and if they were to mix with other children, they would be judged, as are the parents.
As time goes by, the small parent support group grew as more and more parents approached them from word of mouth.
Previously, the support group would meet at each others’ respective houses. Now they have a place that they can call their own. Thanks to the Brunei government, the group can now meet regularly at a designated centre to further develop and help the children with the disorder.
Learning Ladders Society is a registered non-profit society established in 2007 for children with autism, brain injury, developmental delay, dyslexia and other learning disability.
At present, there is an acute shortage in Brunei for qualified ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) therapist, therefore it is necessary for the society to recruit qualified professional from abroad in this area.
She said that they had received a lot of support from the government, non-government sectors as well as individuals. Sometime ago, an individual named Ian Donaldson helped raise funds for the society by swimming
for nine hours’ in Perth.

Courtesy of Muhammad Abdullah, Borneo Bulletin.


IA Salon campaign: Beauty with a cause

2nd November, 2009

The IA Salon accomplished this when they decided to donate all their proceeds yesterday to the Learning Ladders Society. The money first amounted to $7,000 but later rose to $8,094.60 as of 9pm after more contributions were made.

The Organising the event in conjunction with its fifth anniversary celebration, IA Salon was supported by Pelangi FM, who did live broadcast for the event from the salon.
Besides proceeds for the day, the salon also set up a booth to sell souvenirs, and a donation box for the public to contribute for a good cause.

Bikers from Pemoda, Harley Owners Group and Kakashi Bikers all provided their support to the event by giving charity rides around the mall to shoppers who wanted to experience how it feels like to ride on those vintage motorbikes.
Owner of IA Salon Cecilia Lee told The Brunei Times that she wanted to make their anniversary a meaningful experience for her staff, customers and also for herself.
“The main thing though is to educate the kids and teenagers of the need to care and share.”
Jacqueline Sai, an education officer with the Special Education Unit from the Ministry of Education was getting her hair done by a stylist when interviewed.
The regular customer of IA Salon told The Brunei Times that she came down especially for the event knowing that the proceeds will go to Learning Ladders. The proceeds and donations collected for the day were presented to Sharina Yunus, President of Learning Ladders Society by Lee.
Sharina said that despite Brunei being a rich country, there are still many people in need of help for many different reasons. “If everyone can all chip in for a good cause as it would really be of help to the less fortunate.”
During an interview, Sharina expressed her views that despite Brunei being a rich country, there are still many people in need of help for many different reasons. If everyone can all chip-in for a good cause, it will really be a great help to the less fortunate in the sultanate.
Learning Ladders was founded in 2007 by a group of dedicated parents committed to advocacy, public education, information and referral, and support for families of children with neurological disorders such as autism, brain injury, learning disabilities and its related disorders.

Courtesy of Chua Guan Cheong, The Brunei Times


LLS strives to deliver excellence to special needs children

5th January, 2010

IT IS the goal of any special educational needs (SEN) and disability division to ensure that every child with special needs utilises his/her full potential and successful move into adulthood and the world of further and higher education, training or work.

Committed to achieving these goals, relevant units, such as the locally based Learning Ladders Society (LLS), have carried out various activities and workshops in the hope of increasing awareness amongst the community as well as to raise funds.

In an interview with the Bulletin, Dr Sharina Yunus, President of the Learning Ladders Society, spoke about the involvement of parents who have children with special learning needs, which has led to the establishment of the centre back in 2007.

Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pg Anak Isteri Pg Anak Sarah officially launched the centre for the Learning Ladders Society on May 2008. It is a registered non-profit organisation in Brunei.
Thankful for the help provided by the government and private agencies in the setting up of the centre, Dr Sharina said the general consensus among the parents is how “they wanted to know more”.

“They really wanted to get involved and do something for their children so we ordered and bought books from abroad and made them available here at the centre so that parents do not have to buy them because they are expensive.
“The centre also serves as a meeting point for parents to talk, share ideas about similar situations and problems while exchanging stories. Basically, they find a shoulder to cry on here,” Dr Sharina, the mother of a child with autism.

The president of LLS also spoke about the consultants who come to train parents on how to teach their children, so they could improve the quality of their family life.
Apart from parents, Dr Sharina said, they are now training interested and qualified locals with relevant background or prerequisites to become trained professionals to be part of the centre.
“The public are also welcome to volunteer and we hope they will learn a lot about these children.”
When asked about the staff involved in the centre, Dr Sharina stated that at the moment LLS has about four counsellors, two non-technical staff and a number of volunteers who are running the unit.

“We have excellent staff working with us, the training provided has never been conducted in Malaysia or Singapore, and out of all those we’ve interviewed, it was the local staff that shined.
“I hope more locals would venture into this field for career development, perhaps as a clinician or a specialist because it opens up so many avenues.
“Previously, when we talk about dealing with special needs children, a lot of people seem to think of it as a babysitting job. That is not what we do, we are not a day care centre. Our staff is trained to become qualified professionals,” she asserted.

Dr Sharina claimed that one of the most monumental events carried out by the centre is running workshops with the parents, child development centre, special education department and other government bodies.
Linda, Vice President at LLS said that the centre “would like to do more to help these children, parents and concerned individuals to realise and work on similar goals. The main problem however is funding.
“Now, we are pretty limited. We would like to help more kids out there, employ more staff that could help us take on more, request for training by top-notch consultants so we can train our staff to become trainers themselves in the future.

“After all, how much longer should we keep bringing these people from abroad? We should not be forever dependent on them,” said Linda who claimed that the centre receives a twice-a-year visit from a Canadian consultant.
As the president of LLS, Dr Sharina hopes that their efforts will continue to receive a lot of support from the community, government and private sector. They are also involved with children with autism and neurogical disorder.

“We have so many consultants such as from those from Canada, Australia and Singapore, and they have seen our children. The consultants said that they’ve been to so many countries and were surprised to see that Brunei has some of the brightest kids in the world, even with disabilities and it’s a waste to see their potential not being fully utilised,” she concluded.

Courtesy of Afelda Ghani, Borneo Bulletin.


Learning Ladders Society to hold charity family day tomorrow

Feb 6th, 2010

IN AN effort to raise funds for the centre, Learning Ladders Society (LLS) will be holding a one-day charity family day tomorrow at the VIP parking area of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium from 8am until 5.30pm.
Learning Ladders Society, a registered non-profit society of Brunei Darussalam for children with neurological disorders, wishes to invite members of the public to come, support and donate for a good cause.
There will be plenty of fun activities including flying fox, a magic show, funfair games, colouring contests, bouncers, pony rides and many more.

courtesy of Afelda Ghani, Borneo Bulletin.


Carnival attracts families, raises funds for LLS centre

Feb 8th, 2010 

LOCAL band performances, funfair games, magic shows, colouring contests, bouncers, a flying fox set-up, face painting, henna tattoos, a bike show and great food from participating outlets such as Pizza Hut, KFC, Rasamas, Serikandi, RBC Express and Dairy Queen were just some of the enjoyable activities available to visitors during the Family Fun Day Carnival held for the Learning Ladders Society (LLS) yesterday.
Hundreds of children and adults turned up at the VIP car park section of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium to enjoy themselves for a good cause.
“We have so many volunteer groups lending their hand towards our charity event such as the Katak Ijau Fan Club, Rugby Knights, members of UNISSA, Bersatu Bikers Club to name a few, and for that we are very thankful,” said the Director/Vice President of LLS, Puan Linda.

“We really hope this event will help us raise funds for the centre because funding is one of our most important concerns at the moment.
“We wish to cater to more children, especially those who are on our waiting list and we need funding for that,” she continued.
Speaking with the Bulletin, Ak Kamal Ghadafi expressed his pleasure, highlighting the good food, great games and incredible local band performances.
LLS, since its launch in May 2008, has been working around the aim of increasing awareness for and helping children with neurological disorders.

courtesy of Afelda Ghani, Borneo Bulletin.


Learning Ladders Raise Funds For New Centre  

08 February 2010 

Bandar Seri Begawan - The Learning Ladders Society organised a family fun day carnival yesterday to raise much-needed funds to further develop and operate the society's newly-acquired centre located behind Duli Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah College (Maktab Duli). According to the organisation's vice president, Linda Ibrahim, the carnival held at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas was the society's first major fundraising drive to date, equipped with big castle bouncers, horse rides, a magic show and flying fox for visitors to enjoy.
As a non-profit organisation, we have very limited funding. For the past three years, we have been relying solely on donations to run our operations," said Linda.
"We were incredibly fortunate to receive a bungalow from His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's government to use as our centre. Before, we didn't have a headquarters, we operated from home to home," she explained.
Learning Ladders is an organisation that provides information, resources and support to families affected by autism and other developmental disorders. They focus on early intervention in children between four to 13 years old and assists with the provision of therapy using Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA).
The new Learning Ladders centre behind Maktab Duli has been operational since December last year but has yet to have an official launching. The centre will have a library with resource materials on autism spectrum disorders and ABA, which are typically expensive for parents to purchase.
Funds raised from yesterday's carnival will go towards purchasing more books for the library as well as engaging the services of Dr Douglas Lee, an ABA consultant from Behavioural Solutions in Canada. Dr Lee has been working with the society since its inception and travels to Brunei three times a year to work with the Learning Ladders children.
Dr Lee assesses each child at Learning Ladders after they have been formally diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder by a child psychologist. He then designs an education plan, which is tailored to each individual's needs, depending on where they are on the autism spectrum.
Valerie Chong, who has been an ABA counsellor with Learning Ladders for three months, said that lack of skilled manpower severely limits the number of children they are able to help.
"At the moment, we are only able to take on 20 children at the centre because there are only three ABA counsellors and there is a long waiting list to join our programme," she said, adding that she is currently undergoing a nine-month training course in ABA therapy.
Linda expressed the desire to create more jobs for locals through the expansion of the centre, which at the moment, has only six full-time staff. "Our goal this year is to do more fundraising activities so we can expand our centre and cater to more children," she said.
"ABA therapy is not forever. What we do is educate children so they can achieve a level of independence and become valuable members of society."
A total of 70 booths participated in the carnival yesterday, consisting of mostly small businesses, food vendors, mini-carnival games and fast food restaurants.

Courtesy of Quratul-Ain Bandial and Amir Noor, The Brunei Times. 


Learning Ladders Society will be having a 4 kilometres Walk-For-Fun Charity Walkathon at the National Stadium Hassanal Bolkiah

30 March 2010

Autism is increasing world-wide. In line to commemorate the World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd, the Learning Ladders Society with the assistance of the Green Frog Humanitarian Relief will be organizing two events that day, this was said by the President of Learning Ladders Society at the Press Conference in Gadong, this afternoon.

Doctor Sharina Yunus, this year's theme from the United Nations is 'stand Up For Autism' and Learning Ladders Society will be having a 4 kilometres Walk-For-Fun Charity Walkathon at the National Stadium Hassanal Bolkiah. Participants can register at the venue between 6 to 7 in the morning with a registration of 20 dollars that includes a T-shirt, water and food. The proceeds will be used to support Learning Ladders' activities. Meanwhile, the launching of the event was held in the afternoon at the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex in the capital.

Courtesy of RTB News 


Learning Ladders To Mark World Autism Awareness Day On April 2

 30 March 2010

Bandar Seri Begawan - Learning Ladders Society (LLS) will join the world in marking World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) on April 2, and has garnered the support of Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah, who has consented to launch the event, the organisers said yesterday.
During a press conference at the new LLS centre, located behind Dull Pengiran Muda AlMuhtadee Billah College, LLS President Dr Sharina Hj Yunus said that Her Royal Highness had a keen interest in helping the children at the centre.
"We are very fortunate that Her Royal Highness has a big heart and she does have concern for these children," Dr Sharina told reporters.
Co-chairman of the LLS WAAD 2010 Organising Committee Sheikh Kadir Abdullah said that Her Royal Highness had even expressed interest in becoming one of the volunteers at the centre.
"The more help we get for these children, the better it is. Just like we want opportunities in life, they (the children) want opportunities too," Dr Sharina said.
The organisers said that the launch of WAAD 2010 is slated to take place at the meeting room on the fourth floor of the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex in the capital.
A live video conference with Dr Douglas Lee, a behavioural psychologist and autism specialist based in Vancouver, Canada, will also be featured during the launching ceremony. The same method of communication is being used by the LLS centre on a daily basis, where Dr Lee is helping to train Bruneians at the centre to become certified professionals in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), the intervention technique used by LLS.
Some SO to 60 heads of corporate agencies have been invited to witness the launch, with the hope of acquiring "grand pledges" to support the centre's operations and to hire more locals to become ABA counsellors.
Currently, the centre has 20 children under its care and three local counsellors who are in the process of being internationally certified.
Dr Sharina shared that they have had parents who wanted their children to join the centre, but LLS had to put them on the "waiting list" since the society does not have sufficient funding and manpower to cater to them.
"We do have more locals who have applied for the job. They are suitable for the job but we need the money to train them," she said.
She remarked that it was "nonsense" for people to work with special needs children without the proper training.
"So when we have enough manpower or enough (pledges) that means that we can accept more children who have autism," Sheikh Kadir said.
"Hopefully by employing local Bruneians, we can really help people at the grassroot level. Language won't become a problem. We can have our own people speaking Bahasa Tutong, if necessary, to teach the child. It doesn't have to be in English," said Dr Sharina.
She added that there would also be no "cultural problem" as well. It will also be sustainable since there would be "transfer of knowledge to our own people".
"In the future, there will be this pool of expertise in the country to help future generations to come," Dr Sharina said.
Aside from the launching ceremony, LLS will also be holding a four kilometre "Charity Walk For Fun" on the morning of April 2nd at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas. Registration is open to the public from 6am to 7am, with a fee of $20 that includes a free WAAD t-shirt, food and drink. The proceeds will be used to support LLS's activities.
The theme for this year's WAAD is "Stand Up For Autism".
"We very much would like to invite (and) encourage participants to come on thay day and 'stand up for autism' and make a difference now to the lives of these children, so we can give them better opportunities in the future," Dr Sharina said.

 Courtesy of The Brunei Times.


 Brunei marks World Autism Day with walkathon

3rd April 2010

Participants during the four kilometre walkathon. - HANIE HJ ABD HAMID
A charity walkathon marking 'World Autism Awareness Day' (WAAD) was held at the National Stadium Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, in Berakas, yesterday. The event, which was organised by Learning Ladders and their partner as part of 'Green Frog Humanitarian Relief'. Participants covered a distance of around four kilometres, which saw 40 participants commencing the walk at 7am. Present as the guest of honour to officiate the launch of the walkathon was Pg Haji Sabri bin Pg Hj Mohammad, who also participated in the walk.
This year's WAAD theme was 'Stand Up For Autism'. April 2 was originally designated as World Autism Awareness Day by the United Nations in hope of encouraging governments and organisations world-wide to promote positive activities in regards to autism.
The launching ceremony for WAAD took place later in the afternoon at the Yayasan Complex, which featured a live video-conference link to a well-known behavioural psychologist specialising in autism, Dr Douglas Lee, of Vancouver, Canada. Dr Douglas is currently supervising an ongoing training programme for local Bruneians to become certified applied behaviour counsellors for Learning Ladders, via a video link on a daily basis.
In the future - Learning Ladders aims to provide its services to many more children as well as provide quality training for many more locals to pursue this academic field by becoming certified (Applied Behavioural Analysis) ABA Professionals.
Autism, which is on the rise world-wide requires an accompanying increase of qualified trained professionals. Learning Ladder's is fortunate to have the advice and assistance of 'Green Frog Humanitarian Relief' in organising the event.

Courtesy of Hanie Hj Abd Hamid, Borneo Bulletin


Learning Ladders Society's 'Charity Walk For Fun'

3rd April, 2010 

As a remembrance of the World Autism Awareness Day today, the Learning Ladders Society with the assistance of the Green Frog Humanitarian Relief, this morning held a launching ceremony by holding a four-kilometre 'Charity Walk For Fun'.

The 'Charity Walk For Fun' was launched by the Deputy Director of Youth and Sports, Pengiran Sabri bin Pengiran Haji Mohammad. It started and ended at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas. The Charity walk was also to raise awareness among youths on Autism. About 40 volunteers attended the charity walk.


Courtesy of RTB News.


LLS needs urgent funding

3rd April 2010

THE Learning Ladders Society (LLS) yesterday said they “urgently need funding” to employ and train more Bruneians to provide services to more children with autism, especially those on their waiting list.

“Due to limited funds, we are able to employ only three Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) councillors and cater to not more than 20 children,” said the society’s president, Dr Sharina Hj Yunus, yesterday during World Autism Awareness Day.

Dr Sharina said the society was encouraged by the interest of Bruneians who were well-qualified, through the many applications they had received.
“We would like to employ and train more locals. With our own people doing the therapy, we can extend our help to children to grassroots levels, regardless of the socio-economic backgrounds of the family,” she said

She told The Brunei Times that she hoped to collaborate more with the Ministry of Health in helping individuals with autism in the near future.

President Learning Ladders Society, Dr Sharina Hj Yunus. Picture: BT/Zamri Zainal

She said: “When everyone comes together, that is how we can move the nation.” “At the moment, there is enough awareness on autism, but there should be a larger number of people who need to be more understanding and support individuals with autism, to come towards an inclusive society,” Dr Sharina added.
Currently, LLS uses a video-conferencing system with a behavioural psychologist based in Canada to train Bruneians at their centre as it reduces training costs without compromising quality. “We hope that through this programme, we will be able to help ensure greater availability of locally-trained, qualified professionals in ABA to help future generations,” Dr Sharina said.
Regarding their method of adopting ABA as the intervention strategy of choice, she explained that ABA has proved very effective in improving communication, socialisation and cognitive skills of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
“Long-term and follow-up studies validate its ability to improve functioning in children with autism. The sooner the therapy begins, the better the overall improvement in functioning,” she said.
LLS already provides one-to-one ABA therapy for a small number of children, with therapy administered at their centre by their all-Bruneian staff.
A “charity walk for fun” was held yesterday morning to honour their theme for World Autism Awareness Day, “Stand Up For Autism”.
The walkathon, covering up to 4 km, started at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium.
Participants arrived at the venue between 6am and 7am to register. Registration cost $20 per person, to fund the T-shirts, food and water provided for the event. The balance from the proceeds will be used to support LLS activities.
Department of Youth and Sports Deputy Director Pg Sabri Pg Mohammad, who was guest of honour at the event, told The Brunei Times that this kind of activity was very healthy, and was also a very good initiative to help social cohesion, and society in general.
“I am very pleased to be taking part and supporting this kind of community. Though they (Learning Ladders Society) are a small (community), they are equally important,” Pg Sabri said.
Merciana Yong, a young student taking part in the walkathon, said she thought the idea for a charity walk for the autistic society was a very good one. She added that despite the walkathon having an early start, she had no problem with it, as she was willing to support a noble cause, and was keen to exercise.

Coutesy of The Brunei Times.


Brunei stands up for autism
3rd April, 2010

Dr Sharina binti Hj Yunus giving her welcoming address.

Minister of Health in a speech during WAAD at the Yayasan Complex.

Health Minister touring the exhibition. - PHOTOS: JASON LEONG

Guest of honour receiving a token of appreciation from the President of Learning Ladders Society.

Committee members posing for a photo.
Brunei Darussalam joined the rest of the world on a global effort to celebrate World Austism Awareness Day (WAAD) 2010 with the objective to raise awareness about autism.

The launching ceremony was organised by Learning Ladders Society (LLS), one of the organisations in Brunei for early intervention for children with neurotic disorders including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The ceremony was held at the Ground Floor of the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah (YSHHB) Complex, yesterday.

Brunei has a concrete effort to improve services for these children to enable them to live up to their full potential through the Children Development Centre (CDC).
"The CDC offers services through a multi-disciplinary team of professionals with a holistic management approach with the goal of obtaining the maximum functional independence," said the Minister of Health, Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Haji Suyoi bin Haji Osman in his speech during the ceremony.
"But the life-long care for individuals with autism is very expensive," said the minister before adding that there is no known cure for autism but there is hope because it is treatable.
Leading researchers and autism education providers agree that children with autism need increased access to evidence-based interventions such as Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and other similar intervention strategies.
"We are aware that there is a shortage of qualified professionals in this area. In that context I am pleased to be informed that Learning Ladders Society has initiated a training programme for local Bruneians to enable them to become qualified ABA therapists," said the minister.
The training programme to become qualified ABA therapists last for nine months and can lead to the internationally recognised BCABA qualifications. The trainings are conducted by an experienced Behavioural Psychologist, Dr Douglas Less in Canada through a combination of on-site visits and video-conferencing.
The minister lauded LLS as the first group of Bruneian ABA counsellors are completing the training in a few months' time.
"This pioneer group will be able to go on to train more locals and thus increase the pool of qualified professionals in the area of ABA.
"The Ministry of Health will continue to support and collaborate with LLS in their initiative to employ and empower local Bruneians and improve the quality of life for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder," added the minister.
The minister officiated the World Autism Awarness Day 2010 with the sound of a 'gong' and later witnessed a video presentation about autism and LLS. This was followed by a certificate presentation for sponsors and head of volunteers.
The minister also toured an exhibition that was set up to raise awareness on autism. Leading the tour was Dr Sharina binti Haji Yunus, President of Learning Ladders Society.

Dr Sharina said that due to limited funds, LLS can only employ three ABA counsellors and cater to not more that 20 children and would like to employ and train more locals in providing services to many more children especially those on the 'waiting list'.

She too has a six years old child who suffers from ASD. She said, "We urgently need funding to employ, train and cater to more children. With our own people doing the therapy we can extend our help to children at grass root level regardless of socio-economic background of the family."

The day also saw LLS's LifeSize video-conference system with Dr Douglas Lee from Canada about ABA Training Programme that was held at fourth floor of YSHHB Complex.

Also present to witness the launching ceremony was Deputy Minister of Health, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Paduka Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah, permanent secretaries and various volunteers groups including UNISSA students.

This year's theme for WAAD is 'Stand Up for Autism'. The exhibition is open to the public during this period to further raise awareness and gain better understanding on this serious disorder.

Courtesy of Aziz Idris, Borneo Bulletin


World Autism Awareness Day Celebration

3rd April 2010

The society is urged to join together and make a concerted effort to improve services for people with Autism so that they can live up to their full potential. The Minister of Health made the call at the World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) organised by Learning Ladders Society this afternoon. The function was held at the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation Complex in the capital.

Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Haji Suyoi said that the rate of Autism in the world is high and it has a tremendous impact on children, their families, and communities.

Autism is a lifelong development disability that manifests itself during the first three years of life. The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 2nd April as World Autism Awareness Day to highlight the need to help improve the lives of children and adults who suffer from the disorder so they can lead full and meaningful lives. Today Brunei Darussalam is joining this Global effort. Every year, WAAD is celebrated with a theme to highlight various issues surrounding autism. This year's theme is 'Stand Up for Autism'

Coutesy of RTB News