Explore one-stop centre for those with disabilities

We should start exploring how to address the needs of those with invisible disabilities, such as autism, mental illnesses and cognitive impairment, while promoting inclusiveness in a holistic manner.

One possibility is to convert part of a university campus into an "enabling town", which can house a one-stop centre for those with disabilities, their families, service providers and employers.

This will allow those with disabilities to purchase affordable housing where they can learn to live independently, while their caretakers can rent a room nearby to help them transition.

Service providers such as therapy and activity centres, together with employers such as sheltered workshops and social enterprises, will only be a short distance from their homes.

University students, especially those training to be therapists and social workers, will have many opportunities to interact and volunteer with the community.

The disabled community can participate in campus activities to further enhance the spirit of inclusion, and those with the requisite abilities can also sign up to be students of the university.

This win-win arrangement eliminates stigma, promotes inclusion, provides support and grants opportunities to those with invisible disabilities.

Let us do more to convert symbolic support for inclusion into concrete solutions.

Dino Trakakis

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 19, 2019, with the headline 'Explore one-stop centre for those with disabilities'. Print Edition | Subscribe