- POSTED: 15 Jan 2014 15:44
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Plans are underway for a new day activity centre for adults with autism. The Social and Family Development Ministry has invited interested operators to submit proposals for the centre, which will be located in the west of Singapore.
SINGAPORE: Plans are underway for a new day activity centre for adults with autism.
The Social and Family Development Ministry has invited interested operators to submit proposals for the centre, which will be located in the west of Singapore.
When ready, it will be the third of its kind in Singapore after two others, located in the eastern and north-eastern part of the island.
The new centre will provide day care and skills training to persons aged 16 to 55 with autism, who are not suitable for sheltered employment or whose family members are unable to take care of them during the day.
Daily half-hour visits to the supermarket are Lai Yoke Yin's only break from her responsibilities at home.
Otherwise, her attention is on her 27-year-old son, Chong Yu Tang, who has moderate to severe autism.
Mr Chong had attended a day activity centre for nine years, but had to be withdrawn after his behaviour became a challenge to handle.
Since then, he has been cared for at home by his mother.
Mdm Lai said: "As his main caregiver, of course I feel very tired and also sometimes stressed out. I still do my best because I still love him. But I still need time for myself, I need some respite."
Now that his condition is better, the Chongs are looking for another day activity centre - preferably closer to home, which is in the west.
With wider screening and better diagnosis, more people are being diagnosed with autism in Singapore and a new centre for adults will help fill some gaps.
Denise Phua, board member at Autism Association Singapore, said: "Focus has been given a bit more to the adult space. In the past, it was good that the state and the VWOs have been focusing on the young with special needs. It’s quite important now that we now turn our attention to the adult space."
Eden Centre, which is located at Hougang, is one of the two existing centres that cater to adults with autism.
At the centre, they equip adults with autism with life skills like communication and daily living.
With the third centre now in the works, the next challenge is finding the right people to staff it.
Ms Phua said: "It's not easy to supervise or even educate people with moderate to severe autism. Autism is multi-faceted. And so especially at adult level, it is really not so simple. It takes a very special group of people to want to come and work, with the willingness to be trained in their competence, with the passion and desire to help this group of people."
The ministry said the exact location of the centre will be known at a later date.