Cleaner with autism makes mum proud

As a facility assistant, Mr Goh cleans toilets in the wards of Pearl's Hill Care Home.
As a facility assistant, Mr Goh cleans toilets in the wards of Pearl's Hill Care Home.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

When her son was diagnosed with autism at age two, Madam Lin Bi Zhi, 52, cried every day at first.

She did not know what to do, or what future her son would have.

But today, she watches proudly as Mr Goh Wei Han, 19, prepares himself every morning for his work as a facility assistant.

"We are very comforted that he has a chance to work," she told The Sunday Times in Mandarin.

"We feel that he has a normal life now. Go do a bit of work, participate in society and come back."

Mr Goh graduated last year from Eden School, which prepares those with autism with basic life skills.

Since last December, he has headed to Pearl's Hill Care Home in the morning and works there from 8.30am to 12.30pm. As a facility assistant, he cleans the toilets in the wards of the nursing home.

Mr Goh is one of eight people with autism who have been placed in jobs at Pearl's Hill Care Home by the Autism Resource Centre (Singapore).

The non-profit organisation's employment and employability centre has trained and placed more than 125 adults with autism in jobs since 2012, said Ms Jacelyn Lim, deputy executive director of the Autism Resource Centre (Singapore).

And 90 per cent of them are still in their jobs.

A Pearl's Hill Care Home spokesman said the employees with autism have "adapted well and are valuable members of our team".

Mr Goh may not very verbal, but he said that he likes the job, and is happiest on payday because he can use his earnings to buy his favourite meals.

Kok Xing Hui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 05, 2017, with the headline 'Cleaner with autism makes mum proud'. Print Edition | Subscribe