Educational campaign calls for more community support for autistic individuals
There will also be open houses in April for organisations interested in supporting autistic members of their communities.
In commemoration of World Autism Awareness Day on Apr 2, the Autism Network Singapore (ANS) will run an educational public campaign themed Time to Act to encourage the public to champion and learn effective ways to support autistic individuals through different life stages.
ANS is an alliance of five social service agencies which serve over 5,000 individuals from birth to adulthood. These five agencies include Rainbow Centre, St. Andrew’s Autism Centre, AWWA, Autism Resource Centre (Singapore) and Autism Association (Singapore).
Some of the priority areas highlighted include the need to establish quality standards for key autism services and programmes, planning for life after the death of caregivers and developing a continuum of work and employment options.
The public can look forward to stories and educational information on supporting autistic individuals shared on the network’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
Additionally, ANS will hold open houses for mainstream institutions such as schools, employers and public agencies interested in stepping up to improve their support for autistic members of their communities. They are not targeted at caregivers or individual volunteers.
To be held through the month of April, the open houses are 90 mins long, free of charge and will be hosted by senior management of the agencies. They include:
- Apr 13, from 3pm to 4.30pm: A disability awareness talk on Rainbow Centre’s new community-based services for youths with autism and tour to see the early intervention, special education and special student care services at its Margaret Drive Campus.
- Apr 17, from 10am to 11.30am: A tour of Eden Centre for Adults (Clementi), an adult day activity centre by Autism Association (Singapore) to learn about how the programme caters to the individual needs and preferences of each client.
- Apr 19, from 10 am to 11.30am: An autism dialogue with St. Andrew’s Autism Centre and tour of a special education school and day activity centre at Elliot Road.
- Apr 25, from 10am to 11am: A visit to job sites at the Employability and Employment Centre by Autism Resource Centre (Singapore), to learn about employability training and employment support for people on the autism spectrum. It will also hold a virtual autism awareness workshop on Apr 29, from 3pm to 4pm.
Despite national progress in supporting persons with disabilities, services for autistic adults after they graduate from special education schools, in particular, those with moderate to severe needs are still inadequate, shared ANS in a press release.
Commonly referred to as the Post-18 Cliff, caregivers struggle with bleak options often limited to long waitlists for day activity centres, which range from one month to five years and an absence of employment opportunities and community support.
Member of Parliament Denise Phua, who is President of Autism Resource Centre (Singapore) and Chairman of Autism Association Singapore said: “The cliff effect after formal schooling is well known, but there continues to be a dearth of services for adults across the autism spectrum.
“We urge everyone to come together and play an active role in supporting the autism community so that they can thrive and not be left behind.”