People with special needs don't deserve rudeness

I am a training officer with the Metta Welfare Association.

Last Friday morning, I took my clients, who have intellectual disabilities, to Woodlands Swimming Complex for our regular swimming lesson.

As we entered the complex, we passed a large group of primary school pupils. One of my clients briefly grabbed the hand of a female pupil. I told him to stop it, and he did.

While we were in the changing room, two pupils from the group came in.

Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox

One of them stuck his middle finger out at my clients while the other called them stupid. The pupils then left, only to come back and repeat their rude gesture and remarks.

I told my clients to ignore them and the pupils eventually left.

Even though my client had misbehaved towards the child, he did not deserve to be harassed.

It pains me to see people with special needs being mistreated and not shown understanding.

Schools celebrate Racial Harmony Day to commemorate harmony between people of different races.

Why can we not do the same for people with special needs?

Bryan Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2017, with the headline 'People with special needs don't deserve rudeness'. Print Edition | Subscribe