Autism newsletter 2020 August LR - Page 1

Newsletter of the Autism Association (Singapore)
MCI (P) 003/07/2020
Chairman’s Message
The COVID-19 pandemic
has affected and disrupted
our lives and routines
in ways most of us have
never experienced before.
Few activities are spared,
be it work, study, play or
social interaction.
To contain the spread of
the coronavirus and save
lives, the Circuit Breaker
was introduced swiftly
and with relatively short
notice. This brought many
activities to a standstill. The Association closed its two Eden
School campuses, Eden Children’s Centre and two Eden Centres
for Adults during Phase 1 of the Circuit Breaker. Eden School
continued to receive a small number of students whose parents
and caregivers are frontline workers in essential services without
alternative care arrangements for their children.
Disrupted Routines
Closures of school campuses and centres presented special
challenges for children, youths and adults on the autism spectrum.
Many do not take well to disruptions to their daily routines. It
was challenging for students/clients and their educators/coaches
to adapt to online teaching and learning within a short period of
time. Indeed, some aspects of teaching and learning are not easily
done online. Many parents and caregivers also do not have the
necessary knowledge, skills or time to take on the role of home
educator / coach.
Parents’ and caregivers’ routines were similarly disrupted. Parents
and caregivers needed to juggle working from home with caring
for and engaging their children who are on full Home-Based
Online Support
During Phase 1 of the Circuit Breaker, the Association supported
full home-based learning, training and online engagement. Lesson
plans and schedules were worked out with parents and caregivers
to bring structure and some semblance of normalcy to the lives
of our students and clients. Parents and caregivers were handheld
and guided to teach or coach their children. Our educators
and coaches utilised online tools and resources to continue
engagement with our students and clients. Instructional videos
were complimented resources that were sent home.
Family Well-being
COVID-19 and the resulting Circuit Breaker have also impacted
families beyond home, school and family routines. Employment
and financial pressures affected many Singaporeans. In the light
of these stresses, our social workers reached out to families
by increasing their regular virtual check-ins to assess and assist
families where possible. They also kept a lookout for our adult
clients and helped them maintain their mental and physical wellbeing by providing resources such as simple home exercise videos
and step-by-step healthy recipes.
Staff Well-being
Our staff were not spared from the challenges and stresses arising
from the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff had to adapt to using new
technology to engage their students and clients remotely and
online. Support from the Association was crucial to ensure that
staff were able to support their students/clients effectively. This
included technical support, and availability of supervisors and lead
coaches to check in and advise the students/clients where needed.
In this area, we are glad to observe that our staff have adapted and
adjusted well.
Adapt and Adapt
The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of the need for
organisations and individuals to be nimble and adaptable to the
new environment which has changed the way we live, work and
play. To ensure that the Autism Association (Singapore) and those
we serve are able to do so must be our imperative.
Ho Swee Huat (Mr)
Chairman, AA(S)

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