Fairness for Ziqri, Justice for Autism
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What started off as a birthday celebration, turned into a nightmare for Ahmad Ziqri and his family on the night of the 11 September 2018. Ziqri, a young man with autism aged 22 years has challenges with understanding and communicating with people around him; he is also hyperactive. He went out of the restaurant where he touched the breast of a 24 year old woman. The woman's family made a report and Ziqri was subsequently handcuffed, arrested and locked up over night. His family were not allowed to accompany him and he was on his own. Ziqri has the mental age of a much younger person and was unable to process much of what happened.
While the awareness of autism in Malaysia has risen in the past few years, very little is seen in terms of action in the community. Their needs and behaviours are often misunderstood. As a community of concerned individuals, we would like to:-
- Implore those in office to put in place protocols designed by professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, etc...) and parents, for dealing with persons with disabilities in situations as such.
- Implore that members of the family or designated people be permitted to accompany persons with disabilities to enable them to navigate through the system and support the individual.
- Suggest that restraints such as handcuffs be the last resort as persons with disabilities often have extreme sensory issues which can lead to stress and anxiety which will manifest in the form of self-injury, seizures and extreme behaviour issues.
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