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Thoughts of a Parent - Magdelene Yip

“As a typical Singaporean parent with high expectations of my children, it was initially difficult to accept Sebastian’s diagnosis. Even after I realized I needed to get over my denial and find out what I could do for him, I still groped in the dark due to the lack of resources.” - Magdelene Yip, Mother of athlete, Sebastian Ng.

Sebastian, the eldest of 3 children will turn 27 this year.

When he was in preschool, his teacher would tell his mother, Magdelene, “Sebastian seems to learn something but a while later, he forgets and he acts as if he has never learnt it before.” It was only after Sebastian underwent a brain scan did they learnt that he was born without a corpus callosum, and was diagnosed with an intellectual disability – Global Developmental Delay.

Due to the delay in developmental milestones, Sebastian was not ready when the time came for him to enter Primary School. His parents were further disappointed by the lack of support from the mainstream schools they approached. Sebastian eventually attended Dover Court Preparatory School (DCPS), an International School that offered a curriculum that cater to individuals with special needs, while including them in mainstream activites. The inclusivity provided Sebastian with opportunities to participate in school dramas, concerts, and sports during his 4 years at DCPS.

Sebastian then moved on to study at one of the MINDS Special Schools, where he graduated at the age of 18. He now works at the Thye Hua Kwan Pan-Disability Centre, where he does simple work, which includes putting luggage tags together. In 2014, Magdelene enrolled Sebastian for the Learn to Bowl Programme offered by Special Olympics Singapore. Since then, Sebastian has learnt to strive to do better, and has gained a sense of control of his limitations. The programme has also provided Sebastian with an avenue for friendship as he attends training sessions, bowling activites and competitions with his fellow athletes.

Magdelene volunteers at the weekly Bowling Programme where she assists to ensure the smooth operation of the proramme. Volunteering at the programme brings joy to her she as she has witnessed the benefits the athletes have reaped through the programme. She believes in the importance of having a sense of humour – “ we laugh, not at, but with our children”, as it helps with seeing their challenges in a less negative light, and to support every child in realising his potential no matter how tough it may be.
“As a typical Singaporean parent with high expectations of my children, it was initially difficult to accept Sebastian’s diagnosis. Even after I realized I needed to get over my denial and find out what I could do for him, I still groped in the dark ...
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Thoughts of a Parent - Mdm Kamsih Bte Affendi

Madam Kamsih's 26 year old son, Ahmad Salim bin Buang, was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome at birth. Her tireless support and encouragement all these years have been pivotal in her son's development, building on the contributions of his teachers and peers at MINDS. Through years of proactive parenting and care giving, Madam Kamsih has empowered her son to socialise, communicate and achieve beyond society's expectation of him. Salim is an athlete with Special Olympics Singapore and participates actively in Swimming and Bowling. He also holds a steady job at Uniqlo Singapore. Madam Kamsih is especially proud that her son has grown up to be a responsible adult and support the costs of her medical treatment. She continues to find joy in his sporting and other pursuits, while actively helping fellow caregivers through her volunteer work.

While he was growing up, Madam Kamsih would bring her son to various sporting activities such as bowling, swimming and football practices to help him widen his horizons beyond the classroom. She would also bring him to public speaking courses to improve his communication skills. At times when her son complained about his teachers scolding him, she would explain to him that the teachers were trying to correct his mistakes - encouraging him to take an active role in lifelong learning. Even in his adult life, Madam Kamsih would go to Uniqlo every week to understand the new items that they are selling, so that she can talk about them with her son. Salim represented Singapore at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai in Swimming and as a proud parent, she also flew to Shanghai to lend a parent’s love and support for Salim. Whenever Madam Kamsih is not able to bring Salim for Special Olympics Singapore's events or training sessions, she seeks the help of his wonderful colleagues at Uniqlo to bring him.

Today, Madam Kamsih puts her experiences with her son to good use by giving back to other caregivers. She attends caregiver support groups and shares generously about her journey with her son; encouraging other parents to empower their children like she has done. She is an active volunteer with Special Olympics Singapore, where she supports other parents in giving their children a well-rounded development through activities beyond what the school can offer. Through her relentless efforts, Madam Kamsih continues to enrich the lives of those around her, not just her son.

Article Credits: Berita Harian, September 2015
Madam Kamsih's 26 year old son, Ahmad Salim bin Buang, was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome at birth. Her tireless support and encouragement all these years have been pivotal in her son's development, building on the contributions of his teachers and ...
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Thoughts of A Parent - Mdm Ratna Md. Zain

I knew my baby has Down Syndrome when I was 4 months pregnant in 1995. She was born 2 month premature by C-section and stayed 2 months in the ICU. Her birth weight was only 1.7kg. She looked tiny when discharged and weighed only 2kg by then. I lived day by day with her. Her little acheivement was a big joy to me.

Before her 10th birthday, I started sending her for bowling training weekly with Down Syndrome Association. She wasnt that good for the first few years. Bad remarks received from som epeople doesnt discourage me. Sports enabled her to occupied healthily and to interact with friends. She is a student from MINDS Woodlands Gardens School.

Nadhrah was 15 last year and went to the Special Olympic World SUmmer GAmes in Athens. She brought back one silver medal in individual bowling competition, 4th position in double & 5th in team competition. It was her big acheivement to me and a big joy for my family.

Thank you Special Olympics Singapore. My once tiny little girl made me proud of her! Since then, she actively involved in SO bowling and bocce training.

I was also invited by SO Singapore Family Support Network (FSN) Chairman Mimi Tan to join in the FSN committee, to help in their activities. I will help in whichever way I can.

Mdm Ratna Md. Zain; Parent of Athlete

I knew my baby has Down Syndrome when I was 4 months pregnant in 1995. She was born 2 month premature by C-section and stayed 2 months in the ICU. Her birth weight was only 1.7kg. She looked tiny when discharged and weighed ...

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Thoughts of A Parent - Jan Ng

I am an ordinary lady and just want a simple life as I spell my name Jan. However, this simple dream of mine has changed drastically with the arrival of my first child Kai Yuan.

At age of 3, Kai Yuan started having problems with verbal and non-verbal communication, tantrum behaviors and obsessive interests. He was unable to engage in all kinds of play activities. Eventually he was diagnosed with Developmental Delay. Until one day, we consulted a very experienced Speech Therapist, she told us that Kai Yuan is a child with Autism.

At the age of 5, he finally entered into Rainbow Centre for the STEP program to receive his "formal" education. Last year at 18, he has grown with Grace Orchard School where he has 10 years of education.

Kai Yuan started swimming at the age of 8 under the care of the volunteer coaches in the Special Olympics Aquatics Prgroamme.

One Saturdays, when Kai Yuan regularly attends the Special Olympics Aquatic program, I took the opportunity to train him to take public transport independently from home at Jalan Besar to Delta Swimming Pool and return.

When he can confidently travel by himself, we trained him to take the MRT from home to Grace Orchard School at Jurong West. He had not encountered any difficulties either.

He was awarded the 'Most Inspiring and Outstanding Student for ASD Children' in school for his independent skills during the graduation ceremony. This proved that he is also intelligent enough to take care of himself. Today, he is much more independent and confident. We are glad that his quality of life has improved tremendously.

I would like to take this opportunity to say a word of special thanks to all volunteers and people involved in contributing and being part of Kai Yuan's journey in his growing years.

I am also honored to be the Secretary of the Family Support Network Committee. We share information and feelings, exchange ideas and give each other emotional and moral support.

Jan Ng; Parent of Athlete

I am an ordinary lady and just want a simple life as I spell my name Jan. However, this simple dream of mine has changed drastically with the arrival of my first child Kai Yuan.

At age of 3, Kai Yuan started having ...

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