New Member Agency Empowers Neurodiverse Community To Reach Their Full Potential
Twelve-year-old Hin has always been a little different since he was a child. “He always played alone and ignored others. He liked to arrange his favourite toy cars in a certain way. If they were arranged in any other way, he would have emotional outbursts.” Hin’s grandma recalled. Hin’s learning development was also slower than that of his peers. While his classmates were starting to develop language and communication skills, Hin’s limited verbal development drew concern from his family.
During the kindergarten pre-school checkup, Hin showed symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). His grandma insisted that the family should consult a psychologist to ensure that Hin could receive proper support before the age of six, which is commonly referred to as the golden treatment period for those with ASD. After the evaluation, Hin was diagnosed with a moderate level of ASD. Since then, Hin’s grandma has strived to find various training and therapies for him to help with his condition.
About a year ago, Hin’s family heard about Love 21 from a friend, and found out that the organisation provides different activities and sports courses for members with Down syndrome, autism, or other neurodiverse conditions for free. Granny brought Him to some of the classes to gauge his level of interest. Hin was hesitant at first but felt more comfortable in joining more activities after taking a few classes. He even urged Granny to help him sign up for more courses, concerning his favourite classes would quickly fill up.
Granny was surprised with Hin’s progress. She said that Hin was happy every time he went to the Love 21 Space. Hin even remembered the names of each staff member, and took the initiative to greet everyone. In addition, Hin’s willingness to take risks and try new activities was a pleasant surprise to Granny. Once, Granny registered for Hin to participate in a dance class. Hin, who had no previous interest or experience in listening to music or dancing, was not only willing to dance but also completed the choreography on beat.
Since joining Love 21, Hin has had different opportunities to explore his interests. For instance, Love 21’s table tennis course quickly became Hin’s favourite activity. Granny had this to say about Love 21: “The staff members and coaches at Love 21 embody the caring and empathetic nature of the organisation”.
The Chest always takes an active role in addressing different social needs, and Love 21 became a member agency in 2022/23. By providing funding to support its services, Down syndrome and autistic children can reach their full potential through sports, nutrition and holistic support programmes.