“Sebastien, my autistic son, is now 17, a young man. I knew this day would come and I was terrified. Ask any parent of a special needs child who isn’t able to live independently. What happens when we are no longer there for them?
Currently, there are insufficient services for youths and adults with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities, especially autism. What I had in mind for Sebastien was a community network comprising his peers, their families, interested parties and service providers which offers affordable quality programming to help those like him realise their full potential. After speaking to some parents and service providers, it felt too difficult for me to piece together.
Then one morning, Sebastien had a rare outburst of aggression. He screamed, ran into my room and grabbed me before running out, knowing he had done something wrong. It lasted just a few seconds, but I was furious and upset. I called my boyfriend Jerome, ranting, ‘Why am I even thinking about setting up a community for somebody like him? He is so horrible, he doesn’t deserve it….’ It was the perfect excuse to do absolutely nothing. Very calmly, Jerome replied, ‘I know it’s very hard, and he’s not nice today, but you have to do it because nobody else will.’
One night shortly after, unable to sleep, I started writing about that incident, and crying, when suddenly everything sank in so solidly: ‘There is no place for running away; there is simply no place for fear. My vision for a community for Sebastien was something I knew I had to act on. No more excuses.’
Every human being has a purpose in life. That goes even for people like Sebastien who deserve to be accurately represented in this world, and that’s very hard when they can’t tell their story. This is how A Mother’s Wish Campaign was born — to create that caregiving community for my son and other children whose mothers probably feel the same way.
— Choo Kah Ying, Single mother, writer and educator
About 24,000 people in Singapore are autistic. More on A Mother’s Wish Campaign at www.awakeningminds.sg