K. Raman and Nori Abdullah observing the children learn how to code.
The event hosted children on the autism spectrum to introduce coding through its Hour of Code Minecraft tutorial.

KUALA LUMPUR: Microsoft Malaysia, in collaboration with We Rock the Spectrum Gym, today organised an Hour of Code to commemorate the World Autism Awareness Day 2018.

The event hosted children on the autism spectrum to introduce coding through its Hour of Code Minecraft tutorial.

This year’s World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) is themed “Empowering Women and Girls with Autism”, in recognition of the United Nations General Assembly adopting a resolution drawing attention to the challenges women and girls with disabilities face in the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

In observance of WAAD 2018, and in an effort to create STEM learning opportunities, children with different abilities learnt computational thinking through Minecraft, at We Rock the Spectrum Gym.

The gym itself is unique in that it is an autism-focused, indoor playground and kid’s gym that prides itself in being a sensory-safe environment that is ideal for children with autism.

Microsoft Malaysia’s managing director K. Raman said the partnership with the gym was in line with the company’s effort to democratise technology and bridge the opportunity divide.

“Empowerment begins with inclusion, and we firmly believe that the joys of technology should be shared with everyone, especially youth, as today’s digital natives are tomorrow’s digital workforce.

“Our efforts are also in line with Malaysia’s Year for Women Empowerment, as we try to tackle the challenges faced by women with disabilities.”

We Rock the Spectrum Gym also announced a partnership with Microsoft Malaysia to include Hour of Code as part of its program, enabling children who play at the gym to get a chance to learn and experience coding.

Initially founded in Tarzana, Los Angeles by Dina Kimmel, We Rock the Spectrum Gym has expanded across the United States.

In December 2016, Nori Abdullah, the wife of Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, together with Hana Jamaluddin and Rahmah Mahmood decided to bring the gym to Ara Damansara, Malaysia.

Stemming from personal experiences as mothers with special needs children, the decision to bring the gym to Malaysia was a labour of love to provide children of all abilities with a safe place to play and have fun.

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