Saturday, January 10, 2015

How to bring out the best in your person with autism

How is the autism community like in your home country like? Are they committed to bring the best out of the person with autism?

I'll start with my own country, Singapore.

Our people with autism (especially low-functioning autistic people) have government subsidies, which provide a minimum support, enough to live on. 

Some people with ASD have vocational training, giving them a 'job'. Standardized testing ensures that able Singaporeans, even with autism spectrum disorders, maximize their opportunities in life so long as they meet a certain standard on them. They are placed in STEM, business support or even the arts.

Despite the fantastic job in Singapore so far, there is still dissatisfaction in the Singapore autism community. They include the enlistment of males under conscription (which is not too desirable given that it's coerced, but it could work out well with support from the armed forces, as Singapore has conscription), the inability to get into the civil service and similar 'stable jobs' (and hence, a stable source of living, especially for higher-functioning individuals with autism) and rejection of health and medical insurance cover for autistic individuals.

I can only say most members of the autism community are content, but many are not, as more can be done. Perhaps a step in the positive direction would be having the autism organisations in Singapore to examine its biggest issues and work them for the good of people with autism, at the local context, as much more can be done. There could be international cooperation on autism, if this helps to better what we can offer at the local level.


  1. I am very much out of touch, so this is most informative for me. Why is it that people with Asperger's are excluded from the civil service? Is this an official stance or just merely unspoken discrimination? I am curious to discover. People with autism have a great deal to offer society on multiple and myriad dimensions. I am puzzled to read here that the Singapore civil service does not recognise that?

  2. It is unspoken discrimination.

    It is indirectly reflected in its official stance, if one considers the Core Values of the Public Service Division "People: Our Pride - We work as a team", no one in the ministries and statutory boards should have autism, because people with autism don't work well as a team.

    From what I see in Job Application Forms in various governmental agencies, from the National Arts Council, Ministry of Education to the Singapore Legal Service:

    "Have you suffered, or are suffering from any medical condition, illness, disease, mental illness or physical impairment."

    Not to forget the Ministry of Prime Minister's Office's Public Service Career Development and Management Director's reply to a letter written by the Advocacy Executive of Disabled People's Association (Singapore):

    "A declaration does not mean the applicant is not considered for the job. As public-sector agencies recruit based on merit, candidates with the best fit for the job will be hired.

    We do, in fact, have persons with disabilities working in our agencies.""

    If one truly believes in 'Integrity our core", "People our pride" and "Service our pledge" together as a whole, then unless the person with autism proves that he can contribute to the civil service teams in past track records. This means, probably, winning a few competitions or outstanding work in solving issues - meaning the person with autism has to be very, very outstanding somehow and is recognized nationally at least. I can foresee that few ordinary Aspies can get opportunities in the Civil Service.

    I hope ordinary Aspies with dedication and a heart to do his best for Singapore can contribute in the Civil Service. For now, though, it takes an enlightened private sector firm to take us in, or our initiative to better ourselves with marketable and useful skills, and give us responsibilities, training and experience to raise our competencies, to take on the challenges of the future.