(File pix) Huda Patel (centre, top) posing with her Garden International School friends who attended her book launch at Publika Shopping Mall.

When Huda Patel chose autism as the subject of her personal study at school, she never thought that it would lead to something bigger: making her debut as an author. the a-Level student from Garden international School (GIS) recently published a children’s book titled My Name is Nadia. I have Autism.

Nadia is a 9-year-old autistic girl from Johor, whom Huda met whilst conducting her research for her personal study. After meeting nadia and her family members, Huda felt the urge to do something more. It didn’t take her long before she decided to retell the story of nadia from a first person narrative.

Her writing journey began last August. She travelled back and forth to the southern region to spend her weekends with Nadia and her family. they played, dined and interacted with each other.

“Getting to know Nadia in person opened up my mind. It transported me into the world of an autistic child and helped me to understand more about her thoughts, behaviour and feelings. Before this, all that I learned was from newspapers, television and the Internet,” said Huda.

“I hope this book will help to raise the awareness of autism in the community; it still carries social stigma and there is a lack of understanding about it. As mentioned by Dr Mariam Aljunied in the foreword of the book, ‘with better awareness, early intervention and good understanding as well as support from people around them, children with autism are being helped to reach their full potential’.”

The book was officially launched on April 2 at the Publika Shopping Mall. It has been sold in Malaysia, the united States and Singapore before the launch. The proceeds from the sale which amounted to RM10,000 were donated to the National Autism Society of Malaysia (Nasom), Support for Parents, Infants and Children through Early Services (SPICES) and the Early autism project.

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