Same but Different – Understanding the Needs and Challenges of Individuals with ASD for Partnership and Support

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

On 27th and 28th of June 2018, Kin & KiDs Marriage, Family and Child Therapy Centered was very honoured to be invited by Project Differently-Abled (DA) by Gamuda Berhad ( to conduct a two-day workshop named “Same but Different – Understanding the Needs and Challenges of Individuals with ASD for Partnership and Support”.


Project Differently-Abled (DA) by Gamuda Berhad, an engineering, property and infrastructure company is a project that aims to reach out to individuals who are differently abled, and to support them by creating employment & development opportunities that allow them to make use of their skills and competence. (For information on Project Differently-Abled (DA), see Gamuda’s official website, and click on this video!)

This 2-day workshop was organized for Volunteers of Project Differently-Abled (DA) to provide support at workplace to their DA colleagues who are in the autism spectrum as buddies, supervisors or mentors. 24 participants were involved, most of whom were mentors and supervisors who work very closely with individuals with ASD at the Gamuda company. There were also other participants who are actively involved in supporting the ASD community, such as special needs teacher, volunteers from NGOs, and so on.

We hope this workshop can help them better understand the needs and challenges DA colleagues experience and how this affects their functioning and interaction with others, so they can respond appropriately when their DA colleagues are frustrated, stressed or upset with them or with other neurotypical colleagues.

Understanding stress!

Breathing exercise

We also hope that they are able to provide emotional support and positive motivation during times when DA colleagues faced frustrations and stressed in relating with other fellow colleagues due to work or social interactions, and in situations when they faced with rejection especially in relationships that they regard as “special relationships”.

Most importantly, our intention is also for them to be able to accept DA colleagues as they are, without expecting them to change or be moulded to meet expectations of neurotypical norms.

Our director, Charis Wong and clinical psychologist Frances Lim, facilitated various engaging activities and discussions that helped participants to gain more insight, particularly about how individuals with ASD are different but similar with us in terms of physical, emotional and sexual needs. Both facilitators had also exposed participants to the importance of their own emotional regulation and self-care through various relaxation activities and experiential exercises, as one cannot serve from an empty vessel.

As a part of Kin and KiDs, I, as an intern admin had the privilege to work under Charis and Frances in preparation of the workshop. It was a great opportunity for me to assist in the preparation and participate in this workshop which has not only trained me at event preparation and organization, but also helped me at personal improvement. In this workshop, we were given the chance to do a self-review especially in emotional regulation and self-care areas. We were also taught not to run away from the negative feelings and flaws that we have had, but to accept and embrace them. It is an important step for us to take in order to improve ourselves as not addressing our feelings or flaws can leave us an unresolved past. Having the mindfulness of our feelings and flaws can not only help us in taking responsibility for ourselves but also making positive changes in our own lives.

People tend to take things for granted. I am glad to be reminded again that we should all always be appreciative of what we have.


About the author


Kate Chong Ye Xien

Undergraduate Intern (May 2018 – August 2018)





Are you currently pursuing your undergraduate degree? Considering an undergraduate internship at KIN & KiDS? Click here for more information!

Support Group for Parents with Adolescents

Saturday, September 12th, 2015

A project of KIN & KiDS Marriage, Family and Child Therapy Center


An 8-week experiential group where a small group of parents come together in a safe environment to explore the issues they experience with teenagers and to help each other to be better parents for the people they love.  The group leader will facilitate a dynamic group process for participants to learn and share their experiences therapeutically.

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Good night, sleep tight… but I just can’t!

Friday, September 11th, 2015

497736998_45c09a136e_o By: Lee Sook Huey

Having a peaceful and easy sleep can be deeply satisfying. Unfortunately, one tenth of us suffer from insomnia, a condition characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep. While most of us have experience days of poor sleep due to anticipation of exciting events or occasional stressful periods, we will usually be able to adapt to these situations within 2 weeks.

When the sleep problem lasts up to 2 weeks for at least 3 nights per week and affects our mood and functioning, we are likely to be suffering from acute insomnia. However, people usually seek help when they already have trouble falling or staying asleep for more than 3 months, when it has become chronic insomnia.

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“Mummy, I don’t want to go to school…”

Friday, July 24th, 2015

School refusalBy Frances Lim

A plea I made back when I was four years old as I refused to go to kindergarten. Bullied by classmates, the new environment created too much anxiety for me to bear. I remember waking up in the morning dreading to go to school and vomiting in trepidation whenever my appeal to not go to school was denied.

After two weeks, I dropped out of kindergarten because my parents reached a dead end. The fears I had about attending kindergarten again only subsided after my mother enrolled me at a place where I had some friends. Even then, it took me about a month to feel secure enough that my mother would come back for me after classes were dismissed.

What I was experiencing then as a child is known as school refusal.

“School refusal is defined as the behavior of staying home and away from school due to severe fear or anxiety.” – King & Bernstein, 2001.

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Suicide: When prevention is better than cure

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

By Soh Yoke Wah


As a person who never had a suicidal thought, it was hard for me to fully comprehend what hardships or sorrows a person goes through for him or her to come to a state where the wish to die is so much greater than the wish to live. Perhaps you are like me, but this does not mean we cannot do anything to help.

According to Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” For those of us who are around people who are struggling, we can move from being helpless bystanders to doing our part in reaching out to help those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts to prevent an otherwise tragic outcome.

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Loving or sexing children?

Friday, May 15th, 2015

peadophile 2


Newspapers and social media have been abuzz recently with the magnanimous offer of a government-funded college to one of their overseas scholars of a second chance to continue his academic pursuits despite being caught for the possession of over 30,000 videos and photos of child pornography.

While it is quite natural for people to develop loving feelings towards little children due to their cuteness and innocence, developing sexual feelings towards them is something society frowns upon and criminalises. Before we cast the first stone to condemn this person, let’s explore what makes a person develop such behaviour.

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Premarital Counseling – What every engaged couple think they don’t need; what every married couple believe they do!

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

By Joash Koh


  Photo by Alamy

Marriage and divorce statistics in Malaysia have been a source of concern for family and marriage advocators, counselors and pre-marriage educators. Divorce rates in Malaysia have doubled in the last 8 years. Given the staggering divorce rates in a conservative Asian country is disheartening, to say the least. I grew up in a society where two generations before me, divorce was almost unheard of. It is not that there are no couples divorcing but the concept was such a taboo. Fast forward today, out of 214,799 marriages, there were 56,760 divorce cases in 2012. This translates to 1 divorce every 10 minutes in Malaysia!

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Someone I know is cutting!

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

self_harm_by_cjuchiha-d3cornvBy Tan Su Chen

It can be scary to discover that someone very close to you is deliberately hurting herself/himself by engaging in self-injurious behavior. And you might wonder why would someone do that?

Deliberate self-harm (also known as self-injury) is defined as direct injuring of one’s own bodily tissue without suicidal intent.

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Does my child have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

By Lee Sook Huey

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderAt KIN & KiDS, we often get asked this question by parents who finding it challenging to keep up with their “hyperactive” child.  It is normal for children, especially toddlers, to be inattentive, extremely active or impulsive at times. Most children will learn to regulate their attention and behaviors following their cognitive development, but a minority of them do not seem to “grow out” of this phase.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Here are four valentine tips from our KIN & KiDS therapists

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Happy Valentine’s Day!

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we asked four of our therapists to share one valentine tip that has helped them keep the spark in their relationship. Here’s what they said.

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