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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Unlabel The Label

We love all our four kids equally. So why are we spending extra and more time on our firstborn then? Well, our firstborn, let’s call him D, he is just like any ordinary kids around. He loves to play, goof around and eat his favourite food, which is fried rice and spaghetti. He can easily have more than one serving when it comes to his favourite. 

Being a first time parents to D, we did not suspect anything different on his development. My parents were the ones that suggested us to take him to the doctor for a further examination. Well, I mean, there was no harm knowing what was affecting his development. So, we went to the polyclinic to get a referral to KK Hospital. 

When D first went to the hospital, he was only about 2.5 years old. At that age, the doctor was unable to give an affirmative diagnosis, so she suggested speech and occupational therapy. The doctor also said he should go to school that provided therapy such as AWWA, Metta and Rainbow Centre, preferably the one which was near to our home. As we knew nothing of what was happening, we followed what the doctor had suggested. All we wanted as parents was for him to be better. 

D attended both Rainbow Centre and childcare. We were proud to say we saw the improvement in him, from being unable to mutter a sensible word to making sentences. From not acknowledging when we called his name to responding. Not forgetting being able to follow a two-step instructions. All these might be small achievements, but for D, every little small achievement was big. 

When D was 4 years old, the doctor gave her diagnosis. D was diagnosed in a category of an autism spectrum. When we first came to know, I personally did not feel surprised, but it was emotional and I had mixed feelings on how to go from here. 

Luckily, we lived in Singapore. At least, there are avenues to help D. Besides attending Rainbow Centre, the childcare that he attended was very much an encouraging place for him to be. His teachers were supportive. They care for and love D. 

But how about the society out there? Awareness in Singapore is relatively okay, but more can be done to create this. 

Kudos to TV documentaries such as Uniquely Me and Love, unconditionally. Also, kudos to LTA for making the awareness on public transport in MRT trains. There are those special people around in our society, whom are part of the society and would also like to be included in the society.

People like D are likely to be labelled. For instance, he is special, so we need to give him "special" attention and he may not be able participate in some activities as he is perceived of not being able to. How much do you know about people with special needs and how much are you willing to know about these group of people like D? 

Among the 4 kids, D is the most compassionate. He cares about people around him. Many achievements have been unlocked. He had performed twice on stage and remembered all the dance steps. He knows how to read better than his siblings. He rides a two-wheel unassisted bicycle and he does roller blade. He attended normal school and is able to do his homework. Yes, of course with assistance from us, the parents and his tuition teacher. 

It was never easy to take care for someone like  D. A lot of patience, encouragement, support, love and of course time are required. Imagine this: doing his schoolwork requires more than three hours in one sitting. However, people like D can sense emotions. They know when you are angry, sad or happy, therefore we as parents need to provide that encouragement, love and support to ensure that people like D aren't neglected.

Our children are viewed as God’s trust and gift to us. Taking care of them is indeed meaningful and rewarding. Our motto is to take one day at a time. We make plans and hold them tentatively. In crisis situations, learn to expect nothing, and anything else you get can be seen as a bonus and a cause for rejoicing.

So with all D’s achievements, I hope the society will break the barriers and do not view them differently. The achievements that these special kids done are not less achieving than those of normal kids. 

Let’s unlabel the label! Being special is not a disease. Autism is not a disease. 

Written by: DeViLsHGaL

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