Greater support needed for families with special needs kids

The woman who was sentenced to five years' jail for pushing her seven-year-old autistic son out the kitchen window was suffering from a major depressive disorder ("Jailed for pushing autistic son out of window"; March 19).

She had a full-time job and was the primary caregiver of the autistic boy; she had to juggle between these two demanding duties.

Greater support must be given to families with children who have disabilities, or special needs such as autism ("Support for vulnerable caregiving families vital" by Mr Manmohan Singh of AWWA; March 24).

Looking after such children can often be very difficult.

There should be regular visits to the homes by social workers, as well as assistance from professional nurses and caregivers.

More programmes should be made available to people suffering from depression or other mental illnesses, to help them adjust to the demands of society. A network of social services should be designed and provided.

Society must recognise that women who have to work and look after their homes and families face many challenges and are sometimes stressed.

Employers and communities should assist them to meet these challenges.

Fathers, too, have an important role to play in looking after children and assisting with the housework. They can do much to help their wives cope with the challenges.

Zaibun Siraj (Ms)