Jointly organised by the HEART Enterprise and the Mustard Tree, Great Day Out was an event held at the Museum of Contemporary Art to celebrate children’s day with a focus on children with special needs.
A participant tries out archery at the event. Photo: Sport Singapore
With SportCares supporting the event, members of the special needs community were exposed to plethora of activities including basketball, football and archery tryouts.
Lau Kim Lan, Senior Manager, SportCares, emphasised that there are several programmes where person with disabilities (PWDs) and special needs can participate in. These programs include Yes! I Can, a sports programme and learn to play programme.
Dr Chiam Tat Fu, a sports medicine specialist and advisor to the HEART Enterprise, agrees that sport has a huge part to play in the development of children with special needs.
“Sports and exercise has a role to play in the overall development of a person, whether it’s an adult or a child,” said Dr Chiam.
“So for children with special needs, sports can be used in a few ways, to develop motor skills, using exercise and sports to develop the mind and also as a means of social cohesion,” he continued.
With SportCares supporting the event, participants were exposed to plethora of activities including basketball, football and archery tryouts. Photo: Sport Singapore
Joanne Leow, founder of the HEART Enterprise planned the event along with the Mustard Tree founder, Koh Soek Ying.
“The neurotypical community hasn’t done enough for those with difficulties,” said Leow.
“In Singapore there are a lot of facilities or programmes that purport to help the special needs community but are merely window dressing… People don’t know that there is such a huge community of people with autism in Singapore because we simply do not see them,” she continued.
For parents of children with special needs, the Great Day Out event was a safe space for them and their children to experience, sport, the outdoors and other activities in a safe, non-judgemental environment.
Sun Mei Lan is a full time care-giver to three children, one of whom has autism.
“When you have a child with special needs it’s usually not very easy to go out to normal events because it will be crowded, it could be noisy, there could be lines when you want to join fun activities so we usually avoid that.”
“When there is an event like these for special needs families it’s easier for us because people are informed that sometimes accommodations have to be made and that is a very reassuring factor for us and encourages us to come,” she continued.