Give leeway to families with special needs kids

As the mother of a girl with special needs, I feel I must speak up after a recent incident where a woman verbally abused the mother of a boy who has Williams syndrome.

I applaud Madam Elaine Chan for taking her son out and trying to have as normal a life as possible for themselves.

My 18-year-old daughter is not as mobile, and uses a foldable stroller outdoors. This draws the strangest stares when she goes out.

Madam Chan's encounter reminds me of an incident when my daughter and our family were travelling. We were returning to Singapore on a budget airline and had checked in with ease.

But after we had settled in the plane, a crew member requested that all of us get off the plane immediately. It seemed that disabled passengers were not allowed on board.

My daughter was eight at the time, and with us were her father, aunt, grandmother and our helper. If we had to flee the plane, it was clear that any one of us could have carried her, even without the help of the crew.

I hope members of the public will cut families of children with special needs some slack when they see us out with our children. We just want as normal a life as possible.

Geraldine Chew Chia Ling (Ms)