(File pix) Rocker and composer Edrie Hashim. Pix by Aziah Azmee

KUALA LUMPUR: Rocker and composer Edrie Hashim is committed to corporate social responsibility, especially when it comes to educating the public on autism.

The father of 14-year-old Darren Haikal, who suffers from autism, is sharing his experience raising his elder of two sons as part of a programme co-organised by Rapid Rail and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Seri Keramat.

It enlightens Light Rail Transit (LRT) commuters on the needs of handicapped and autistic people, especially students, at LRT stations in the Klang Valley.

“Darren is a lot calmer these days, but used to be tantrumatic when he was younger. Doctors diagnosed his autism when he was a year old, but my wife and I only saw the symptoms when he attended kindergarten,” said Edrie in a recent news report.

“It’s a challenge to raise an autistic child, but having Darren has taught me patience and empathy. The public lacks understanding of autistic youngsters, they think their public tantrums are signs of bad parenting, and that hurts us because it’s not true.”

Edrie, 44, revealed that Darren was once scolded by the employee of a shop in a major supermarket, for opening his refrigerator. “This led to a brief exchange between us - he called my son ill-mannered, and that made me lose my cool. I told him, ‘don’t you dare say that about my son!’”

Edrie said it was best that celebrities with special children participate in campaigns to highlight their needs.

“Campaigns like this are spot on because commuters meet special children daily. I want to remind them to be empathic and understand special children’s needs. It’s also good for special children to be made aware of public transport facilities.”

When asked about his current activities, Edrie said he was performing with rock group Wings, and promoting the new singles of his proteges Kudien, Eva Maria and Arill of the reality talent search Tiga Juara.

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