Do more than talk to help disabled people

A recent report shows that there is still much work to be done to change mindsets to combat discrimination (Teacher jailed for abusing autistic pupil, 9; Oct 9).

Organising symbolic events such as the Purple Parade and providing token inclusion do not go far enough. The organisations that serve people with disabilities should set an example themselves regarding inclusion, such as hiring full-time staff at equitable pay and having board members who are from the disabled community.

These organisations should also strive to reduce unnecessary barriers for inclusion. For instance, the upcoming Asia-Pacific Autism Conference 2019, organised by the largest autism organisations in Singapore, charges a hefty $642 fee for presenters with autism who wish to talk about their life stories and experiences.

Knowing that people with autism are often unemployed or earning minimal wages, how can that barrier be considered an act of inclusion?

The Disabled People's Association is one of the few organisations that walk the talk. Let us all learn from its example and take concrete steps to change our society for the better.

Dino Trakakis

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2018, with the headline 'Do more than talk to help disabled people'. Print Edition | Subscribe