Singapore child with autism draws achingly lonely picture of coping with mainstream school
"He drew it one day after school as he was depressed that nobody wanted to play with him..."
There has been much talk about promoting inclusivity in mainstream schools, but in reality, how far have we come? An 8-year-old Singapore child with autism recently drew a sad picture of what it is like to cope with a regular school environment.
His heartbroken mum posted about the incident on the Facebook group, “Friends of ASD Families”.
It broke mummy Janice’s heart to see the picture her son had drawn…
“He drew it one day after school as he was depressed that nobody wanted to play with him”, she writes.
The child apparently has mild autism and studies in a mainstream school. Janice has always encouraged him to initiate play with his classmates, “and move on to other children if they refused.”
“But he was so dampened facing rejection after rejection during his repeated attempts in finding someone to play with.”
“Worse, when he slipped on the wet floor and fell, he was laughed at and no one came to help! He couldn’t articulate his feelings well so he drew this picture to show me what he had gone through.”
Here is the picture that this Singapore child with autism drew:
Mummy Janice also reveals that being diagnosed with just “mild” autism has in fact made matters worse for her son.
She reveals, “This is only part of his daily struggles in school. Although his school has an allied educator, he receives no support as he’s considered a mild case.”
“He is basically left to cope with the school day on his own devices.”
You can sense a mother’s disappointment and pain when she writes, “It is such a painful irony to be excluded despite being “included” into mainstream education.”
“There has been a lot of talk about inclusion but inclusion is meaningless if children with different abilities are merely being put in the same place without any genuine form of interaction.”
Janice feels that, on a very basic level, children should be taught to treat other children how they would themselves like to be treated.
“Do to others what you want them to do to you.”
“I hope my son’s drawing will serve as a reminder that autistic individuals too have feelings, just like everyone else.”
“No one should have to eat alone or spend the whole day in school without a friend, everyday.”
Here is the full post on Facebook:
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder of the brain that affects how a person communicates, relates and interacts with other people.
Apparently, 1 in 150 children In Singapore are on the autism spectrum, even higher than the World Health Organisation’s global figure of 1 in 160 children.
Signs of autism may include:
- trouble interacting, playing with, or relating to others
- little or brief eye contact with others
- unusual or repetitive movements, such as hand flapping, spinning, or tapping
- delays in developmental milestones or loss of already-achieved milestones
- difficulties learning in school
- playing with toys in ways that seem odd or repetitive
- low muscle tone, clumsiness, and poor spatial awareness
Students with autism may:
- get easily frustrated and act out in certain situations
- be sensitive to bright lights, loud noises, or busy hallways
- need to go to the school nurse for medication
- miss class time for doctor visits and therapies
- have trouble speaking or not speak at all
- seem insensitive or unemotional
- need extra time for class assignments and homework
- need to take tests in a separate area away from distractions
And because children with autism face many challenges, and are considered “different”, they are more prone to being bullied.
As parents, we can teach our kids that, more than anything else, children with autism need understanding. They may say and do things differently, but they like to do things like everyone else.
Teach your child to respect others and accept differences. Teach them that, we may all be different, yet we are all the same.
(Additional source: KidsHealth)