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Let's rally to support those with special needs

The perseverance of navy serviceman and para-athlete Jason Chee inspires me (Against the odds, he triumphs; Oct 1).

His story is a reminder that anyone can acquire a disability in an accident, an illness or in old age. However, no disability can take away the intrinsic worth of a person nor stop him from maximising his potential.

It is heartening that the National Council of Social Service organised the "See the True Me" public education campaign to encourage the public to see persons with disabilities for who they are instead of the disability they have.

However, one of the reasons given by the Government to justify keeping the cut-off time of abortion at 24 weeks is to allow those mothers whose unborn children are found to have "structural abnormalities" to "consider the implications and make an informed decision as to whether to keep or abort the child".

On the one hand, we want to build an inclusive society. On the other, we seem to be cutting off persons with disabilities at its source.

I would have been labelled as grossly handicapped because my bones broke at birth. But my parents did not give up on me. With their love, with medical treatment and community support, I am now an educator with the ability to impact lives.

We should empower every citizen to rise up to his fullest potential, with or without disability. We should rally our society to support any family with a child with special needs.

By virtue of our humanity, we have value and every right to live, regardless of what we can or cannot do.

Every individual gifts us with precious life lessons, more valuable than money or medals. Let us learn to love sacrificially and build a more compassionate society.

Ho Lay Ping (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 08, 2017, with the headline 'Let's rally to support those with special needs'. Print Edition | Subscribe