Forum: Can't find childcare centre to enrol daughter with cancer

My wife and I were delighted when we read the Straits Times article "Demand for inclusive pre-schools grows as more are aware of benefits" (Sept 7).

Our daughter, who is almost two, suffers from cancer, which resulted in both her kidneys being removed. She requires tube feeding and has a peritoneal dialysis tube attached to her that must be kept dry.

Apart from that, she functions generally like any other child.

However, due to the perceived risk, many childcare centres refused to take her in.

Some centres gave us reasons like "furniture endangering her", which does not make sense as other children would equally be endangered if there were such a risk.

As both my wife and I are working, we hope to find a childcare centre for our child where she can enjoy interaction and social development with other children.

While we understand that some centres cannot cater to different needs due to resource limitations, we feel that a lack of understanding and exposure often causes fear.

Out of a risk-averse attitude, centres refuse to take in children with different needs.

Yet many individuals, despite their differences in conditions, contribute meaningfully to society, some very significantly.

Case in point: swimmer Yip Pin Xiu, who has made the nation proud once again in this year's Paralympic Games.

Every citizen is a unit which makes up Singapore's society, regardless of ability and needs.

We hope more conversations on inclusivity will encourage more centres to adopt better practices.

Sometimes, the barrier is the lack of willingness, openness and awareness.

Despite the challenges of finding a centre for her, on top of what we are already facing, we remain optimistic.

Singapore has progressed tremendously from when it began.

And as physicist Stephen Hawking said: "Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet."

Benjamin Alexander Chua