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The Road to Inclusion - two MPs' views on this, and MY CALL TO ACTION moving forward

In 2018, Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Member of Parliament Rahayu Mahzam spoke on an I NCLUSIVE EDUCATION SYSTEM for children . She gave very good suggestions/proposals, all of which are still relevant today and in the future. I can sense the sincerity flowing from her, as she is speaking not only as an MP but also spoke from her heart as a mother herself of her special needs son with Down Syndrome. She also hit the nail on the head that these will benefit not only special needs students but also ALL STUDENTS and SINGAPORE AS A WHOLE. Among other things, two benefits stood out to me personally: All students get to learn values of empathy, kindness and compassion. They also make meaningful friendships they otherwise would not have. Enabling special needs students to have a good education to become working adults who can contribute economically, and this will lessen the need for resources (and thus the cost) needed for support structures that will be needed if they are not co

True Inclusion, Equality, and Empowerment of autistics - Learning from Examples of International Women's Day and SG Women 2021

Preamble International Women's Day (IWD) has gotten a lot of attention this year (2021) in Singapore. In fact,  The Ministry of Social and Family Development has dedicated 2021 as the Year of Celebrating SG Women . As a believer of Equality, Inclusion, and Fairness for all, I find this inspiring. More importantly, I find many fundamental principles/values and attitudes on which this concept of gender diversity operates upon, which I feel can be emulated and applied to disability inclusion , including Autism Awareness Day   coming up next month (April). 2nd April was declared as Autism Awareness Day by the United Nations General Assembly A bit of History 8th March is International Women's Day (IWD) . Officially recognised by the  United Nations  since  1977 , today it is celebrated by many countries globally. The Women’s Rights Movement  dates all the back to 1848. Readers keen to read more history may refer to the links appended below in the Appendix. Closer to home, MPs such

POEM: I May Not Look At You But I am Listening, I May Not Talk but I am Responding

A note from the Poet, Wesley Loh: This Poem is dedicated to my beloved autism community. I intend to capture/express some of things we go through inside us.  To our non-speaking autistics counterparts: We feel your pain of the misconceptions people have of you. It is tough living in a world where your way of communication is different from the mainstream.  This poems also seeks to be a voice for you to some extent (especially the 2nd segment), debunking common myths of non-speaking autistics and helping the world understand the inner thoughts and feelings that are going on inside you that you otherwise don't vocalise.  Given that I am a speaking autistic, I don't think my poem does justice to fully represent you and your thoughts, but do know I tried my best and that we are all a part of each other as fellow autistics from the same beloved community. The Neurodiversity Movement need not divide us, on the contrary, it unites us! Title: I May Not Look At You But I am Listening, I

My Portfolio of Autism Community Involvement

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From Latest to Earliest As at 16th September 2020 WhatsApp Autism Community Singapore (WACS) chat network, an autistic-led project/initiative  - http://w.iautistic.com , 2018 to present Co-founder   Emerging Stronger Conversations, 12 September 2020 Participant I spoke about issues autistics face, such as employment. I also spoke about a paradigm shift needed Wild Poet’s Den # , Open Mic 2, 22 August 2020 Poet # Wild Poets’ Den is a new monthly spoken word event in Singapore that aims to create an alcohol-free, warm, inclusive & safe space for writers to come share their truths, musings, poems and stories. “A Very Special Walk (AVSW) 2020” by the Autism Resource Centre (Singapore( (ARC(S)), June to August 2020  Team Leader of “Neurodiversity Champions Unite” team, one of the Champion Teams who climbed the ranks to  among the top 10 fundraisers Contribution during COVID-19: Poetry work published on MSF Facebook page, 5 June 2020 : https://www.facebook.com/MSFSingapore/posts/33430

What A Truly Inclusive Event, and Society, Looks Like

https://elemental.medium.com/autism-is-an-identity-not-a-disease-inside-the-neurodiversity-movement-998ecc0584cd The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) annual gala in November (reference article link above) is a very good example of how a truly inclusive event and/or autism event should look like. Just to point out a few features/attributed. 1. Colour-coded badges for Communication Preferences Autistics have differing personalities; some love to talk to everybody (or for some, like me, is because I yearn for company and friendship), some prefer to stick to only those they know , while others prefer to be alone . "But isn't that the same for everyone?" Some non-autistics may prefer to be alone too", some may say. Well, there is more to that than meets the eye. It is not merely a matter of preference for us. It is due to some inherent autism traits or challenges. For example, those who prefer to be alone might need that to find solititude and calmness from t

Autism community TERMINOLOGIES - Use the right ones please

https://www.abc.net.au/life/autistic-or-has-autism-why-words-matter-and-how-to-get-it-right/10903768 Indeed, there is a lot of deeper meanings in the terminologies. We should never dismiss it as just "mere terminology" or reduce it to "let's not get hung up on terminology". Different terms can mean very different things,  and that is partly attributable to the nature of the English language. Moreover, it has underlying mindsets/paradigms  behind the terminology, which is further reinforced through the use of the terminology. The shift from "person with autism" to " Autistic person " is a paradigm shift on a very deep and high level and in many ways. I hope those whose lives have been touched by autism will be players of the bigger plan of breeding a culture of acceptance, appreciation and celebration of Autism and Neurodiversity . For Autistics, and Caregivers, if you are on the journey towards understanding and discovering autism, may y

Riding through COVID-19 with Hope

Riding through COVID-19 with Hope Written by Wesley Loh, Autistic Advocate NOT to be reproduced without written permission of the author We are facing a global pandemic called COVID-19 The worst crisis in decades we have seen Or at least, so nations worldwide deem Daily sharp increases of cases, while we continue mourning in our wait for a vaccine Many shops close down, from retail to non-essential services to office & school canteen The silence in the malls and street, what an unusual scene   Everyone is barred from meeting physically, we wonder how our family and friends have been As we work and study from home, staring at the screen What a major disruption to our routine We must stand united and cooperate if we want to emerge from this crisis strong and supreme   Stay at home and keep your home clean Be considerate to others, don’t behave like you are the Queen Work or study hard, but take breaks in between , for you are human, not a machine K