When Durai Pandian Visalakshi joined St. Andrew’s Autism Centre in 2005, she had never worked in special education. Here, she tells us about her leap of faith.
Supporting St. Andrew’s Autism Centre’s work to improve quality of life for beneficiaries and their families also helps staff to become more effective leaders, says King Living’s regional retail manager Ili Ibrahim.
Lead teacher Siti Nor Aisyah Binte Sarip was among the staff who helped to get St. Andrew’s Autism Centre started in 2005. Here, her most memorable moments from the journey.
David Matthew Fong, who heads Strategic Partnerships and Volunteer Management at St. Andrew’s Autism Centre, on loving people “wired differently from me”.
Sensory processing issues are a common feature of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), affecting up to 95% of individuals with the condition. These issues can cause individuals to experience heightened sensitivity or under-responsiveness to sensory input, which can in turn impact their ability to engage with the world around them. Common Sensory Processing Issues in Autism…
Observing Malkeith as he carries out his duties, be it patiently guiding his clients as they go about their activities or managing challenging behaviours, there is a certain rhythm and ease with which he does things that can only come from over a decade of experience on the job. Today, I joined him on his…
Looking out the window, Viknesh clutches his bag expectantly. The excitement in the air is palpable. Today is movie day for the residents at St. Andrew’s Adult Home. For 28-year-old Viknesh, the last time he set foot in a cinema is a distant memory from years ago. As a child, Viknesh loved watching movies at…
It is hard to look at the thick calluses covering Alfred’s forearms without feeling a whole gamut of emotions – like shock, pity, curiosity and even fear. The scars are physical manifestations of daily self-injurious behaviour over his 34 years of life. Alfred is a non-verbal adult with ASD and he bites himself as a…
When I was about 7 years old, my parents told me that my younger brother, Tee Ray, is special. As a child, I did not fully understand what “autism” meant. It has taken me over two decades to learn what that word means, and every day I am still discovering new things about my brother…
“Why don’t you send him to IMH?” “So you have a genius in the family!” These are just some of the comments that a person with autism may encounter on a regular basis. Andrew Ang, father of 17-year-old Alex who is a student at St. Andrew’s Autism School, he can understand why certain misconceptions persist,…
The moment the bus reaches St. Andrew’s Autism Centre, she slumps over in her seat, releasing the full weight of her body. When 21-year-old Sze Min first came to our Day Activity Centre she was determined not to go to class. Day after day, her coaches at the Day Activity Centre cajoled and even carried…
Imagine being unable to communicate how you feel when you are unwell, what you need or even what you want to eat. How frustrating that would be. For most of SAAC’s beneficiaries on the moderate to severe autism spectrum who are non-verbal or have limited verbal abilities, the use of AAC (Alternative and Augmentative Communication)…
The End Caps Assembly Project began in a relatively humble manner in 2016.
By April 2019, about two and a half years after it first began, the project had grown significantly with 10 classes of SAAS students and several classes of Day Activity Centre (Siglap) [DAC (Siglap)] clients assembling 44,000 end caps and 86,000 top and bottom pads!
Dressed in black from head to toe, with dark shades covering his eyes and a black ear piece, almost inconspicuously, placed in this ears, he may appear menacing.
The lead character from a new Men in Black sequel or a local spin-off of Vincenzo? Neither.
Meet Henry, the father of a 28-year-old autistic resident at St. Andrew’s Adult Home (Sengkang) [SAAH].
Unlike most schools in Singapore, two teaching staff at St. Andrew’s Autism School would lead a small class size of six students. For about four and a half hours daily, during school terms, our teachers deliver the customised curriculum, helping our students develop functional, independent and daily living skills, nurturing each one holistically as our students focus on learning and growing.
Coaches at our Day Activity Centres (DACs) spend six hours each day, five days a week, working closely with clients with moderate to severe autism. Being a DAC coach is an intensely engaging role. Beyond the requisite knowledge and skills, the ability to read situations. react quickly and respond appropriately is a daily reality for which a lot of understanding, patience and creativity are needed. And not forgetting that the role can be physically demanding too.
Let’s meet two of our coaches and find out why they choose to work with adults on the autism spectrum.
Twenty-five individuals from different towns in Mizoram, Northeastern India, left their hometown in pursuit of a common goal – better lives and job opportunities – in a country they have never been before. That was in 2019.
Two years later, these individuals have grown and changed in more ways than one. From acclimatising to the culture, to overcoming challenges in caring for autistic individuals with varying behavioural issues, they have had their fair share of ups and downs.
Let’s meet Sety and Omomi, two of our care staff from a team comprising persevering individuals who are dedicated to nurturing and caring for our residents at St. Andrew’s Adult Home (Sengkang) [SAAH].
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).
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.
“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.
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.
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.