As today is World Down Syndrome Day, it’s fitting that we shine the spotlight on families of children with special needs. Chances are, your child will meet someone with special needs, and it’s crucial that we educate them on how to treat them with love and respect. Studies show that kids who interact with special needs people at an early age will develop more empathy, helping them to be more inclusive and understanding of different types of people later in life.
Singaporean society is becoming more inclusive of people with special needs – companies like Uniqlo, Starbucks and women’s clothing store MLB have been making a special effort to hire people with special needs.
Still, we have a long way to go: a survey by local philanthropic house Lien Foundation found that only one in 10 Singaporeans feels confident in interacting with special needs children. In fact, 64 per cent believe Singaporeans are willing to share public spaces, but not interact with the special needs community.
Here’s how to teach kids to befriend kids with special needs, and be comfortable around them.