Voices Of Youth

Nurturing an empathetic society

It is heartwarming to see two supermarkets and a toy store adjust their store environments to cater to children with autism ('Quiet Hour' for special needs kids; April 3).

It would be a cause for cheer if society in general could be more empathetic. Not only would it help those who are on the autistic spectrum, but it would also lift the spirits of their caregivers. On top of that, we will become a more inclusive society.

Once, I watched an autistic classmate as he sat alone in the canteen. Many students just walked past and gave him strange stares. There were even some who laughed at his unusual behaviour.

In order for Singaporeans to really have a common denominator with this group of people, the Government or schools could organise roadshows or events that allow Singaporeans to have an inside look at autism.

For example, talks could be held to help Singaporeans understand this condition, and the behaviour and habits of people with autism, so that they would view them with compassion.

Also, activities that allow Singaporeans to experience what it is like to be a caregiver to an autistic child could be held. This will allow the public to have an idea of the struggles of caregivers.

More than being an economically developed country, it is more valuable for Singapore be an empathetic and inclusive society.

Ng Yi Xin, 15,
Secondary 4 student

CALLING YOUNG READERS: If you are aged 21 years or below and want to air your opinion on any report or letter in The Straits Times, e-mail your letter to stforum@sph.com.sg, with the subject header ''Voices of Youth''. Do include your age, school level and contact details, and the headline of the report/letter you refer to. Please keep to a length of 250 words.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2017, with the headline 'Nurturing an empathetic society'. Print Edition | Subscribe