Making tweaks to events for children with special needs

Like Madam Cheah Chew Kuan, I greatly appreciate the efforts put in by the organisers of the recent Special Olympics Singapore event at the Bishan Stadium (Kudos to organisers behind event; Oct 11).

However, I would like to share some points for Special Olympics Singapore to consider to better plan their future events.

First, an over-enthusiastic leader of one of the volunteering teams delivered a long lecture and used some negative words before the start of the United Walk.

An upset parent quietly told the person to refrain from using such negative words. The response was that she was just a volunteer.

Volunteers should be briefed that many of the children with special needs do not have the capacity to comprehend "encouraging" words to spur them to do better.

Second, our team finished all the activities more than half an hour before the start of another programme scheduled for noon.

However, we were told to loiter around the stadium and not to enter the sports hall until the scheduled time. Some parents decided to enter the sports hall as their children were tired and badly needed to sit.

To our surprise, we found that there were actually many seats in the sports hall for the children to rest on while waiting for their turn.

Volunteers should also be trained for eventualities in big events. They should be advised to consult officials if certain activities end earlier than scheduled.

Third, all participants of the United Walk were stopped several times on the stadium track to take photos. There was no need to do this as the sun was blazing at 33 deg C and also because a drone was being used to take photos that day.

Despite these minor incidents, the numerous varied and fun activities at the event certainly kept our children with special needs engaged and happy.

On behalf of all the parents, I would like to say a very big thank you to everyone for all their hard work in bringing yet another wonderful event to people with special needs.

Betty Ho Peck Woon (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2018, with the headline 'Making tweaks to events for children with special needs'. Print Edition | Subscribe