Living with Autism – Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Ze Liang has progressed significantly since he first started attending Day Activity Centre (Siglap) [DAC (Siglap)] in November 2007. He used to be extremely rigid, reacting physically if there were changes to his routine, and refused to eat all but limited types of food.

Ze Liang’s story also illustrates a fact about autism – it is not temporary but lasts a lifetime.


She observed the routines and movements of the staff, as she planned and waited patiently to execute her escape plan. Then unnoticed, she stole a staff uniform, dressed in it and duped the security guards as she made her way out of the secure facility. Natasha Romanov in a scene from the yet-to-be released Black Widow movie?

But this is not from a movie plot nor is it even fictional. This is true account of an adult on the autism spectrum who was then temporarily warded at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).


When the late Dr NK Yong walked into a room, it lit up. His quiet warmth and stately presence, felt. It was our honour at St. Andrew’s Autism Centre (SAAC) to have made his acquaintance, and our privilege to have been deeply touched by his giving.

Journey In A Lifespan

A roly-poly figure with bristly hair sat at his work desk quietly, working on his favourite activity set. He had a task to complete: to arrange and match various food products into their respective categories. A while later, he pushed his chair backwards, held a piece of the puzzle and walked to the nurses’ station.

Journey In A Lifespan

“Looks like we’re not able to head out again today,” Coach Eve said to her teammates as she watched Xuan meltdown by slamming himself. This time, in reaction to the heat. Guiding Xuan back to the air-conditioned classroom, she had encouraged him to work on another activity, but with little success as Xuan had started becoming fixated on arranging the visual cues on his table.

Journey In A Lifespan

He reached for her hand. That sudden touch on the arm was not something Teacher Visa had expected. She turned around, and saw that it was Xuan. Some unintelligible sounds were made. The 18-year-old youth on the autism spectrum who was non-speaking, was trying to initiate communication. It was unusual.

In My Shoes

Imagine that you are a non-speaking person with autism. Imagine what your day and reality is like. Imagine what it would be like to be supported to have a community rallying around you. That is what we are doing at St. Andrew’s Autism Centre (SAAC).

For The Love Of Teaching

Ms Gloria Yzelman is St. Andrew’s Autism School’s Programme Lead for students aged nine to 12 year old. This year, Gloria was recognised for her work in special education when she was named a recipient of both the MOE-NCSS Outstanding SPED Teacher Award and the MOE Masters Scholarship in Special Education.