There is a petition put up by a informal parents group called Shoulders.
Shoulders - Appeal for Asd Adults
The Online Citizen highlighted the plight of these parents [Petition by parents of children with autism- MP Denise Phua on the defensive]. The parents are asking for more govt support to create work opportunities for their autistic children when they grow up and significantly improve the care for autistic adults who are unable to work.
This petition reflects the deep and persistent fear of parents of autistic children about who will take care of their children when they are gone. Unlike other first world countries where the govt gives extensive support for parents of disabled children, the Singapore govt leaves much of work to charities with limited resources. Much of the financial burden are borne by the parents who are usually the primary caregivers - very often one of the parents stop working to look after the child. For lower middle income families, having a child with special needs leads to a financial burden that results in the parents pushing back retirement or being unable to retire. Several years ago, the plight of these parents was brought up to the MCYS. Given that they take care of their child while they are alive which is all they can do, they were hoping that the govt could help them with the care of their children after they pass on. After much deliberation, the PAP govt came up with a CPF scheme that allows parents to put aside the own money for the children. CPF will lock up the money and release it in small instalments when the child becomes an adult[Help for parents with special needs children]. So after much discussion, the govt decided to play an administrative role.
You will notice that the petition will be sent to the PM, ministers and MP Denise Phua. Why send it to Denise Phua? Denise Phua has a autisic child and founded a charity known as WeCAN which helps caregivers of autistic people and offers early intervention programmes for autistic preschoolers. Before she became an MP, she often wrote to the newspapers and govt bodies to highlight issues that concerns children with special needs. Many people in the charities and volunteer groups see Denise Phua as their champion in parliament. If there is any thing good about the PAP, it is Denise Phua.
"Recently I read an appeal for signatures to Government for more services for persons with autism especially for the adult space. Indeed this space needs attention, as the authorities have
heeded and done much more for the younger ones in recent years.
However, it would be good to be updated first on what's happening on the
ground, then make an informed appeal if that's the way to go. I urge you to find
out more first so together we can be effective in advocating not for those with
autism but other special-needs folks who similarly need support."
- Denise Phua's Facebook entry on this petition.
Denis Phua urges the people putting up the petition to be patient. The Online Citizen says Denise Phua is on the defensive. Things have been incrementally better for parents of children with special needs thanks to MP Demise Phua. However, Singapore has been a developed country since the early 90s and there is a big gap between what the govt does here for children with special needs compared with other developed countries. Denise Phua said in parliament last week that the defense budget should be reviewed to finance social spending - a position that is similar to WP's Pitram Singh. I'm not too sure how much Denise Phua can change the PAP by being part of the PAP. You can just imagine the frustration among parents of children special needs when the cost of medical care increases or when the cost of transport increases - they need a car or taxi to bring their child to school and to the hospital. When the rest of us experience the pain of price hikes, it is this segment of the populace that feels the most pain. Few Singaporeans will disagree that we should do more for these parents and these children - it is just the PAP, less a few good MPs like Denise Phua, that limits what we can do as country for these fellow Singaporeans. We should all be petitioning for more to be done for these parents and make it clear that the govt is not doing enough here...and we are not going to accept the status quo,