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A Different Way of Learning

Indonesians with Autism Forge Their Own Path to Education and Employment 

Employment opportunities are limited for people with autism in Indonesia. Challenges arise because of differences in communication between neurodiverse and neurotypical persons –  and because of an overall lack of public acceptance toward people with autism in Indonesia, says Naufal Asy-Syaddad, DJP filmmaker and disability activist. Schools often don’t have the expertise to develop learning accommodations for people with autism, and workplaces don’t have enough resources in place to support their neurodiverse employees. Muhammad Faisal Hakim and M. Atarriq Husein – two Indonesian men with autism – describe the obstacles they have faced throughout their education and search for employment, and how they’ve been able to create their own opportunities.

*Click here for the Bahasa Indonesia version of this film.

Photo of Naufal Asy-Syaddad.

Filmmaker: Naufal Asy-Syaddad

Naufal Asy-Syaddad is a disability rights activist with autism. After joining Yogasmara Foundation’s finance staff last year, Asy-Syaddad became chairperson of the foundation’s youth group. Yogasmara Foundation provides accommodation, accessibility, and advocacy services for Indonesians with autism and developmental disabilities to gain equality in fulfilling their rights as citizens. The foundation was started by his mother, disability rights activist Lani Setyadi. It is based in Semarang, the capital of Central Java.  

In 2015, Asy-Syaddad was selected to be a “disability ambassador” representing Indonesia at a training in Thailand on the rights of persons with disabilities. Beyond his work with the Yogasmara Foundation, Asy-Syaddad is a talented mathematician, achieving top honors in national competitions and garnering local press attention. He recently earned a mathematics degree from Diponegoro University. With the Disability Justice Project, he hopes to share his experiences to end the stigma and discrimination against persons with autism.

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