Desiree Kaur


Initial thoughts

When I first heard about Sunway Putra Mall’s Autism Friendly Shopping Day, I was quite skeptical. My son, Haans, is three and half, with moderate autism. Shopping with him can either be enjoyable or extremely exhausting. Autism is a spectrum after all. So, I have learned to expect the unexpected on outings.

One Tuesday morning, I chalked up the courage to bring my son to Sunway Putra Mall, by myself. Daunting and with no expectations in mind, I braved morning traffic from Shah Alam to the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

Planning the outing

A few days prior, I went to the website, to find out about the facilities available. My first thought, parking privileges available but we need to go the Concierge to pick up the kit first? So, I filled up the GoogleForm online and proceeded to send an email to inquire of the parking privileges. Within a day, I received a reply. My car details were taken, and someone from concierge offered to meet me at the parking lot with their Autsome Kit.  Sunway Putra Mall named this initiative Autsome which stands for Autism is Awesome.

Arriving at Sunway Putra Mall

I arrived rather early, hence, parking was abundant since it was also a weekday. Since my son was in good spirits, I parked at the first available lot in sight. I also thought to leave the reserved Autsome lots for others who may need it more than I.

Reserved Autsome parking bays at level B1
The Concierge at G Level, Sunway Putra Mall

Quickly, we made our way to the Concierge at G level. Walking in, I was quick to notice three very important things:

  • Lights were dimmed – an important element for some on the autism spectrum. Some experience more sensory issues than others whereby excessive lighting could disturb them.
  • Music volume was low  – I could hear music but not as loud. It was pleasant and calming. Loud sounds also tend to bother some people with autism.
  • My son remained calm  – my son was happy to enter in this new, unknown place. He is usually quite wary of new places, at times even refusing to enter. This time however, he entered happily with that curious cheeky smile of his, intent on exploring!

The Autsome Kit

We received our Autsome Kit. The friendly concierge was quick to tell us about some of the privileges we could enjoy. He pointed out key areas such as the Sensory Walls and informed us of the Calm Room available at the Lower Ground Level. At that point in time, Parenthood and the Cat Playground were offering free entry for anyone with the Autsome band on every Tuesday (provided it is not a public holiday).

Autsome Kit containing a pamphlet, parking sticker and Autsome band

The concierge kindly offered to show us around. I thanked him but preferred to explore on our own, as I had to be guided by my son’s temperament too.

So, we began exploring…

Our first stop was the Parenthood, an indoor playground. By showing the Autsome band, we were allowed in immediately.  The play area is huge! Being a weekday, we had the place to ourselves. My son was a little reluctant to enter at first but calmed down rather quickly. I noticed the area was child safe, so I did not need to restrict his movement.

Haans found his way to the ball pool at The Parenthood

I believe he enjoyed not being restricted and was quite happy to roam about freely. He took his time to explore and overall had a pleasant experience here. Next, it was time to move on…but first…meltdown number 1. He did not want to leave, so I proceeded to my usual, carry him (kicking, screaming and all), under the watchful eyes of passersby. Up the escalator we went.

The sensory walls

We arrived at the first Sensory Wall! And what a blessing it was. He was intrigued. At first, I semi-forced him to touch the different textures. There was a good mix of soft and rough textures, shiny surfaces and an assortment of shapes. Eventually, he started to explore it on his own.

There are 3 Sensory Walls in the mall on Levels 2 and 3. Positioned rather strategically along these two levels, it is a good “in-between” break for parents who are shopping with children. In fact, this wall benefits all children and can be a good distraction. The walls also gave me a chance to take a breather in between meltdowns.

Haans exploring the sensory wall after some prompting

What next?

After exploring the various Sensory Walls along the way, we went to the Cat Playground on Level 1. Here, my son enjoyed laying about on the large cushions and rolling around with the friendly cats. Interesting fact, cats can provide an avenue of positive relationships for children with autism. Cats tend to be affectionate, benefiting children with autism and their families.

The Cat Playground also works with Dr. Khew who runs Animals For Young, a centre that provides Animal Therapy and other services for individuals with special needs. Animal assisted therapy incorporates the use of animals such as horses, cats, dogs and so on. It has been an effective form of intervention for individuals with special needs such as autism.

Tactile walking path around the trampoline typically used in therapy for children with autism

Time to calm down

Needless to say, he had a ball of a time with the cats. When it was time to leave, the ultimate meltdown ensued! Rolling on the floor, kicking and screaming. It’s a blur to me, but we somehow, we made it to the “Calm Room” at the Lower Ground Level (next to Nandos).

We entered and he began to calm down as he sought comfort in soft textured pillows coupled with the “music turtle” playing calming music in the background. This room is fully equipped with sensory toys, pillows, a comfortable couch, and even a weighted blanket. It is clean and lighting dimmed which does not overwhelm someone who is already in a “tantrum mode”. It also gives the parent a chance to calm themselves down from dealing with a meltdown, or just a few minutes to catch up on messages or return important phone calls.

Why Autism Friendly Shopping Day?

We asked Sunway Putra Mall, why autism? Ms. Phang Sau Lian, General Manager of Sunway Putra Mall said,

“When we first approached this initiative, we found one thing in common amongst our colleagues; a number of us knew at least one person with autism and the challenges they face in public places like shopping malls. Thus, this project is very close to our hearts. We decided to embark on this journey to advocate Autism Awareness.”

The aim is to provide an inclusive and comfortable shopping experience while creating awareness towards increasing public understanding of autism. Sunway Putra Mall will also extend these privileges to other types of special needs in addition to autism. There are also plans for another Calm Room on Level 3 which should be ready by the third quarter of 2019. As for other Sunway Malls, the management says it is being considered.

In a nutshell

Registration is only required for the first visit. Patrons are encouraged to reuse the Autsome bands for subsequent visits. The Autsome initiative  includes the following privileges daily:

  • Access to the Calm Room at level LG
  • Sensory Walls on Levels 2 and 3

Every Tuesday 10am – 5pm (except public holidays) – Autism Friendly Shopping Day includes the following:

  • Dimmed lighting
  • Lowered volume levels
  • Reserved Parking at Level B1 (first come first serve basis). Stickers available at the concierge upon online registration online.
  • Special discounts and privileges offered by participating tenants. List available here.
  • Assistance from concierge personnel

Despite my son’s tantrums and meltdowns, it was a positive experience. The Sensory Walls certainly do create a welcomed distraction. The Calm Room is indeed a blessing too. Overall, Sunway Putra Mall has made an excellent attempt at being Malaysia’s first Autism Friendly Mall.

Maria Montessori said, “The child builds his inmost self out of the deeply held impressions he receives.”

Therefore, a ‘labelled’  child carries the impressions others heap on him, for life. Dyslexia is a learning disability plagued by misconceptions. Common labels for children with dyslexia include ‘slow’, ‘unintelligent’ or even worse, ‘stupid’. Some are even left behind, overlooked or ignored in kindergarten or school settings.

What Dyslexia is NOT:

  • Oral language impairment

Individuals with dyslexia have no issues with vocalisation and articulation. Instead, they have a neurobiological disorder which impacts written word pronunciation and spelling.

  • A behavioural or attentional problem

No, dyslexia is not ADD or ADHD. However, issues with attention could stem from inability to understand via conventional teaching methods. It is crucial to grasp the learning style that best resonates with the child.

  • A result of low motivation

It is a neurological disorder. Therefore, motivation or the lack of it does not cause dyslexia. Low motivation can occur in dyslexic children, especially when they are compared to their peers or worse, labelled.

  • An emotional problem

No, it is not an emotional problem. However, studies have shown a link between dyslexia and depression in adolescents. Typically, it stems from labels bestowed in childhood which they carry on for life. Nevertheless, emotional problems do not cause this disorder.

  • Autism or Schizophrenia

Not all learning challenges are the same. Dyslexia is unique in itself. It is not uncommon for people to associate one disability with another. Nonetheless, co-morbidity is possible. This is when an individual faces two learning challenges whereby one is not caused by the other. For example, dyslexic individuals could also have ADHD.

  • Limited intelligence

When a person is dyslexic, it does not mean they are not intelligent. On the contrary, those with dyslexia have normal to above average IQ scores. In fact, some famous personalities with dyslexia include Walt Disney, Richard Branson and Albert Einstein.

  • The result of poor teaching or low family income

Blame is the game when something is not right. So when a child has dyslexia, some blame poor teaching or the lack of exposure due to lower family income. This is simply not true. It is a neurological disorder, which simply means that the brain functions differently.

Photo credit: Sarah’s First Grade Snippets (

The picture above illustrates the three regions of a typical brain, which light up when reading. However, the brain of a person with dyslexia, does not function in the same way when reading.

Photo Credit: The Reading Well (

As illustrated above,  the brain of someone with dyslexia is unable to automatically recognise and analyse words.

Indicators of dyslexia

1) Unable to recognise rhyming words

Rhyming words phonetically may not add up for a dyslexic person. Word analysis is tough. The words  “could” and “should” appear as individual words and not rhyming words.

2) Challenged by letter names and sounds

Automatic word recognition is difficult therefore, sounds and letter names are tough. Phonetically, the dyslexic brain finds it difficult to sound out the words they read.

3) Difficulty differentiating letters of similar appearances

Confusing similar looking alphabets is the most widely known sign of this disorder. It is also one of the earliest warning sign.  For example the letters ‘b’ and ‘d’ may be used interchangeably.

4) Difficulty with spelling

Spelling may always be a challenge, which dyslexic children carry on into adulthood. However, in this digital age, there are many tools to assist children and even adults with this.

5) Hard to pronounce irregular words

Since sounding out phonetic pronunciations is difficult, irregular words prove challenging. It is quite common for dyslexic children to question the spelling of irregular words e.g. why is “once” not spelled as “wunce” or “one” not spelled as “wan”.

6) Problems with multi-syllabic words

Additionally, words with several syllables become tougher for a dyslexic person to pronounce.

7) Poor reading fluency due to slow word perception

Due to slow word perception, dyslexic children find it hard to read fluently. Dyslexic children with the proper diagnosis may apply for extra time or a “reader” and “writer” for main examinations such as UPSR, PT3 and SPM. This is to enable them a fair chance to perform well in such examinations.

How does one confirm if a child is dyslexic? Always see a paediatrician for a referral.  A Child Development Specialist or Child Psychologist is the best person to diagnose dyslexia.

Dyslexia is a learning disability, not a label for life. Hence, early intervention is key.  


Some helpful links and resources on dyslexia in Malaysia:

Dyslexia Malaysia Association (DMA) or

Dyslexia Parents Support Group  (PSIDM)

Dyslexia Remedial Centre

“Getting Started with A Special Needs Child” may have some useful information on getting an assessment for dyslexia.

Going to the dentist can be daunting for anyone, what more a child. Visits to the dentist should be done every six months, from the time a child shows signs of having teeth. Besides overall good dental hygiene, it is also important for a child to understand the importance of visiting a dentist regularly from a young age. Finding dentists is relatively easy. However, locating a child-friendly dentist may prove more challenging.

We have updated our list of child-friendly dentists to include paediatric dentists!

Kuala Lumpur

iSmile Dental Center

Address: 76a, Jalan SS 21/35, 47400 KL.
Contact: 03-7727 2135
Operating hours: Weekdays 9.30am – 5.30pm; Saturdays 9.30am – 3.30pm; Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays
FB page: iSmile Dental
Email: [email protected]

Imperial Dental Specialist Centre
Pediatric dentist

Address: 62 & 64 Jalan Telawi, Bangsar Baru, 59100 KL.
Contact: 03-2284 5529, 03-9212 0605
Operating hours: Mondays to Saturdays 9am – 8pm; Sundays 9am – 6pm; Closed on Public Holidays
Email: [email protected]
FB page: Imperial Dental Specialist Centre
Instagram: imperialdentalsc 

Imperial Dental Specialist Centre in Bangsar

Klinik Pergigian Halina

Address: 7A, Tingkat 1, Lorong Ara Kiri Satu, Lucky Garden, Bangsar, 59100 KL.
Contact: 03-2092 1002
Operating hours: Mondays to Thursdays 10am -7pm; Saturdays & Sundays 10am – 3pm; Closed on Fridays
Email: [email protected]
FB page: Halina Dental Clinic

DentalPro Specialist Centre

Paediatric Dentist available on some Saturdays only

Address: No.263, Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, 59000 KL.
Contact: 03-2094 3333, 019-240 3333 (whatsapp)
Operating hours: Mondays to Saturdays: 9am –6pm; Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays
Email: [email protected]
FB page: Dentalpro                
Instagram: dentalpro.specialist         
Twitter: @Dentalrpo_ 

Beverly Wilshire Dental

Address: Level 9, Dijaya Plaza, No. 237 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 KL.
Contact: 03-2118 2999
Operating hours: Monday to Saturday 9.30am – 6pm; Sundays & Public Holidays by appointment only
Email: [email protected]
FB page: Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre 
Instagram: beverlywilshiredental    

Damansara Heights Dental Centre

Address: 75 Jalan Setiabakti, Bukit Damansara, 50490 KL.
Contact: 03-2093 0309
Operating hours: Mondays to Saturdays: 9am – 6pm; Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays
Email[email protected]
FB page: Damansara Heights Dental Centre 

Yap & Associates Dental Surgery

Address: Lot 1.02 Level 1, Menara Manulife, Jalan Gelenggang, Damansara Heights, 50490 KL.
Contact: 03-2094 0005
Operating hours: Weekdays 9am – 6pm; Saturdays 9am – 3pm; Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays
E mail: [email protected]

Dutamas Dental

Address: A3-1-8, Publika Solaris Dutamas, Jalan Dutamas 1, 50480 KL.
Contact: 03-6206 3554
Operating hours: Weekdays 9am – 7pm; Saturdays 9am – 5pm; Sunday 9am – 2pm: Closed on Public Holidays
E-mail: [email protected]
FB page: Dutamas Dental Clinic

Dutamas Dental

Klinik Pergigian Fauziah

Addresses & Contact Numbers:
Publika:  A1-1-03, Publika Solaris Dutamas, Jalan Dutamas 1, 50480 KL;
Tel: 03-62063068
Centara:  Unit G02-B, Menara Centara, 360 Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, 50100 KL; Tel: 03-26020402
Melawati:  236A, Jalan Bandar 13, Taman Melawati, 53100 KL; Tel: 03-41071591
Operating hours: Weekdays 10am – 5pm; Saturdays: 9.30am – 2pm;Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays
E-mail:  [email protected]
FB page: Dentist Malaysia
Instagram: klinikpergigianfauziah      

Smile Avenue

Address: A4-UG1-6, Level UG1, Block A4, 1, Jalan Dutamas 1, Solaris Dutamas, 50480 KL.
Contact: 03-2857 0869
Operating hours: Mondays to Thursdays: 10am – 7pm; Fridays & Saturdays 10am – 5pm; Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays
Email: [email protected]
FB page: Smile Avenue Dental Surgery Publika 
Instagram: smileavenuedental      

White Perfect Dental Clinic

Addresses & Contact numbers:
Taman Connaught:  1st Floor, No.7, Jalan Menara Gading 1, Taman Connaught, Cheras, 56000 KL; Tel: 03-91019068
Cheras Business Centre:  34-5, Jalan 5/101c, Off Jalan Kaskas, Jalan Cheras, 56100 KL; Tel: 03-9133 9068
Operating hours: Weekdays 9.30am – 5.30pm; Weekends 9.30am – 5pm;
Closed on Public Holidays
Email: [email protected]
FB page: White Perfect Dental Clinic

Bangsar Utama Dental Specialist Center

Address: Wisma Hamid Arshat, 12, Jalan Bangsar Utama 9, Bangsar, 59000 KL.
Contact: 03-2282 4339, 03-2201 6022 (Main)
Operating hours: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Fridays 10am – 6pm; Thursdays 12pm – 8pm; Saturdays 9am – 4pm; Sunday Orthodontics appointments only; Public Holidays by appoinments only
Email: [email protected] / [email protected]
FB page: Bangsar Utama Dental Specialist Clinic 

Yee Dental Surgery

Address: Lot S117B, Bangsar Shopping Centre, 285 Jalan Maarof, 59000, KL.
Contact: 03-2095 1102
Operating hours: Weekdays 9am – 6pm; Saturdays 9am – 4pm; Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays
Email: [email protected] /[email protected]


Pristine Kids

Pediatric dentist

Address: Lot F38, 1st Floor, Empire Shopping Gallery, Jalan SS16/1, 47500 Subang.
Contact: 03-5612 5632
Operating hours: Weekdays 10am – 5pm; Weekends 10am – 12pm
Email: [email protected]
FB page: Pristine Dental Centre 

The Dental Studio

Pediatric dentist

Address: LG 16, Empire Damansara, No 2, Jalan PJU 8/8A, Damansara Perdana, 47820 PJ.
Contact: 03-7732 7714
Operating hours: Monday to Thursday 10am – 5pm; Friday 10am – 4pm; Saturdays 10am – 2pm; Sundays & Public Holidays by appointment only
Email: [email protected]
FB page: The Dental Studio

The Dental Studio in Ara Damansara

Lim Dental Surgery

Address: 28A (1st Floor) Jalan Sultan 52/4, New Town Centre, 46200 PJ.
Contact: 03-7956 9100
Operating hours: Weekdays 9am – 6.30pm; Weekends 9am – 4.30pm; Public Holidays 9am – 1pm

Jaya Dental Surgery

Address: Ground Floor, PG1-13A, Jaya 33, Section 13, Jalan Semangat, 46200 PJ.
Contact: 03-7957 5611 / 03- 7957 4320
Operating hours: Weekdays 10am – 5pm; Saturdays 10am – 4pm; Sundays 10am – 3pm; Closed on Public Holidays
Email: [email protected] / [email protected]

V-Care Dental Surgery

Pediatric dentist

Address: 2nd Floor @ Uptown 37, 41BC & 43BC, Jalan SS21/37, Damansara Utama (Uptown), 47400 PJ.
Contact: 03 -7726 8499 / 03-7725 2020
Operating hours: Mondays – Saturdays 9.30am – 6pm; Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays
Email: [email protected]
FB page: V Care Dental Centre
Instagram: vcaredental

V Care Dental in Damansara Utama

Tey & Khaw Dental Clinic

Address: 5-2, Jalan PJU 5/10, Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara, 47810 PJ.
Contact no.: 03-6148 5208
Operating hours: Weekdays 9.30am – 7pm; Saturdays 10am – 5pm; Sundays: 10am – 3pm; Closed on Public Holidays

Klinik Pergigian Malaysia Smile

Address: 13A, 1st Floor, Jalan Kenari 4, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47170 Puchong, Selangor
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 9:30am to 7:00pm; Saturday 10:00am to 3:00pm; Closed on Sunday and Public Holidays
Contact no: 03 5891 9989, 016 889 5891
Email: [email protected]
FB page: Tey & Khaw Malaysia Dental
Instagram: teykhawdentalclinic

Prestige Dental Care

Address: 22A-1 (First Floor), Jalan Puteri 1/4, Dataran Puteri, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong.
Contact: 03-8060 3389, 013-394 3389 (Whatsapp)
WeChat ID: prestigedental
Operating hours: Weekdays 10am – 7pm; Saturdays 10am – 6pm; Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays
FB page: Prestige Dental Care
Instagram: prestigespecialistclinic
Twitter: @prestigedentalc

Photo credit: Prestige Dental Care

Carson & Louise Dental

Address: 43-1 Jalan Sungai Burung z32/z, Bukit Rimau, 40460 Shah Alam, Selangor
Contact No.: 03-5525 8289
Operating Hours: Monday to Friday 9 am – 6 pm; Saturday 9 am – 5 pm; Closed on Sunday and Public Holidays
Email: [email protected]
FB page: Carson & Louise Dental


This list is not exhaustive and opening times may be subject to change, so parents are advised to contact the clinics before they plan to visit. Do write us at [email protected] if you have any other child-friendly dentists we should add!