Friday, December 10, 2010

Of first autistic impressions

It is almost absurd that people say don't judge books by its cover when most do not practice this preach. After all you buy a book after 2 minutes of holding it. That snap evaluation you just made is base upon the cover art, binding, font size, summary and sometimes statements of acclaim.

Judgment is therefore made. It may be right or wrong but it would take awhile before you make that evaluation again.

So to say, this is the like for people.

We judge at first sight and we are more often than wrong, we rarely divert from the first impression. Even if it is to be overwritten here and there, that impression is rather underlying.

Mr Jared Ng, 19, is one of those “books” you will judge upon sight.

The hyperactive kid that he is now did not start talking till he was two. His mother, Mrs Ng, 48, said, “We were very worried because he doesn’t response to us nor speak. (At first) we thought he was either deaf or mute.”

He was diagnosed with autism at the age of two.

When the Tic-Tok went to interview Jared and family last Monday, he was in good spirits but easily distracted and even started singing techno loudly at one point of time. An avid singer, he auditioned for Singapore Idols 3 and was rejected.

“He likes to sing and is very loud in public. People will start to stare and give the face. The looks on their faces are as though my son is siao (crazy in hokkien), expressed Mrs. Ng.

An ex-Jurongville Secondary School (JVS) and current ITE Chua Chu Kang (ITE-CCK) student, Jared was confident and knew clearly which education route he wanted to take. He even dreams of serving the nation.

“I am now in ITE. After this, I want serve the nation because I am a man. Then, I will go Polytechnic and further my studies,” Jared proclaimed with a big smile.

Unfortunately Jared will not be able to serve the nation due to his condition.

“You know, I was voted Mr. JVS by my teachers in secondary school because I was very helpful, “added Mr. Jared Ng.

However, life in secondary school was not that rosy for Jared. While well loved by his teachers, he frequently spends his recess and lunch period alone.

When asked about his peers, Mrs. Ng cried and whispered slowly,” We always fear that the children in school will not accept him and he will not make any friends. “


Despite the fear Mrs. Ng had for her second child, Jared proved that autistic children are not to be belittled. Jared is well loved by his classmates and was voted class monitor early this year. When he is sick, his facebook profile was flooded with get-well-soon wishes from his classmates.

With recent data showing that one in every 110 children getting diagnosed with autism, it is not uncommon to have encountered an autistic person. The support from Jared’s family and friends signifies that it is plausible for Singaporeans to accept autistic people and give them their support by having patience and an open mind.

Support groups such as Autism Youth Centre have relentlessly provided assistance and advice for families of persons with autism, giving public awareness to promote community involvement and support and imparting knowledge and skills for people with autism through training. With such activities being carried out to aid autistic people, and with the kind of support given by families of autistic children, it does not come as a shock that, contrary to common belief, autistic children can lead normal lives despite their condition.

1 comment:

alis said...

Familiar ah the first 4 paragraphs? haha