A great turnout for what is billed to be the first ever Surabaya Walk for Autism. The event took place on Saturday, April 2, 2011, with Live Performances at the Atrium of the newly opened Grand City Mall and Exhibition Center in Surabaya. Approximately 400 people were in attendance.
Despite the rain, the Walk for Autism itself commenced past 16:00 through the following route: Grand City Mall, toward Jalan Pemuda, Jalan Yos Sudarso, Walikota Mustajab (the Surabaya City Hall), and then back to the Grand City Surabaya. Many supporters brought banners and chanted throughout the walk. Participants included autistic children and their parents, families and friends, as well as supporters from as far as Europe and the United States. A wheelchair-bound, well-known, former ophthalmologist and stroke survivor Dr. J. Kadi was also seen joining the Walk, with a great spirit and a disregard for the drizzling rain.
Money raised from the event was used to finance the Walk itself. Ms. Linda Liem, founder and director of the Autism Treatment Center of Surabaya, said that there has been talkover setting up a Foundation, but someone has yet to step up to initiate the process. Another possibility is to set up a Co-op where daily needs for Autistic children can be purchased. It is her hope that such Co-op/Center will serve as a training site for autistic teenagers/adolescents who have yet to figure out how to survive in an adult world. Ms. Liem is working on compiling statistics of autistic teenagers of 15 years and older.
Despite the increasing number of cases of Autism, there has generally been no aid and statements from the Government. The general population is still unaware and uneducated about the issue. The Surabaya Walk for Autism, in conjunction with the global initiative, aims to create such awareness, to dispel myths about Autism, to educate the masses about the subject, and to reach out to the Government for help, as the cost for therapies can be out of reach for some of the people who live in the cities and in the rural areas.
The Surabaya Walk for Autism Committee members include the following:
Ms. Linda Liem (Chair)
Agung Prabowo (Finance)
Vika Wishnu (Public Relations)
Included in the programs at the Atrium were:
Documentary Film and Q&A Session, moderated by Psychologist Ms. Ratna Yudhawati.
Various performances by the Sacred Heart School, Sekolah Musik Gita Nada, Dongeng oleh Indonesia Bercerita, Sulap, and the Cosura-Komunitas Kostum Cosplay.
For more information about Autism in Surabaya, please contact:
Ms. Linda Liem
The Autism Treatment Center of Surabaya (ATCS)
Ruko Surya Inti Permata I Blok C-10
Jl. HR. Muhammad, Surabaya, Indonesia
Tel/Fax: +62 (31) 734-9327