Message from Eric of iautistic.com:
Thank you for choosing to participate in the first autistic-led social networking initiative in Singapore. This is our first baby step towards living the spirit of “Nothing About Us Without Us”.
We know that we will be judged on our first try. For the sake of being taken seriously in our future advocacy work, we must succeed. This is why I decided to help lead the effort despite my busy schedule. As Singapore’s first autistic autism advocate, I do not wish to see the new generation of autistics lose hope like what happened to me when I started on my autism work alone. With the establishment of this network, I am glad to say that we have delivered on our first installment of change. The journey is still long and there are still many struggles, but we will continue to push on.
This network is an example of a equal partnership of both autism parents and autistics. This is a direct challenge to the mindset that sees adult autistics as immature people unworthy of respect and incapable of determining their own future. This is also a direct challenge to the mindset that sees autism as a disorder and autistics as deficient people who need to have all traces of autism eradicated.
Within this safe space, adult autistics not only get the opportunity to participate as equals, but also to stand up gently but firmly for themselves against those who disrespect and oppress them. We are glad to welcome parents, autism professionals and anyone else who believe in empowering autistics to realise their true potential. May this lead to a vibrant and truly inclusive autism community!
Message from Wesley of wesleyadvocate.blogspot.com:
I am glad to be part of the pioneer batch of autistics to run and co-lead this inaugural autistic-led network in Singapore.
I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at 18 years old.
I had longed to connect with the autism community ever since I hit my early 20s and after a few years I finally find myself here!
I can identify with challenges and unusual personalities that other autistic adults face, just like myself. I naturally feel for & with my autistic peers and younger counterparts because of my own experiences thus my heart yearns to befriend them, which is also for my own emotional needs for belonging and acceptance as well.
That is why I am motivated to co-lead this initiative. To connect with like minded people, to bring the community together, to love/embrace each other as our own. To have a safe environment where we can be ourselves.
As we explore the depths of autism and living with it and the many lives touched by it, I hope we find much richness and goodness in our common bond.
“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members, a heart of grace and a soul generated by love” (Coretta Scott King)
“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about” (Margaret J. Wheatley)
Message from Tygar Creek:
As we enter a new age of technology, we must prepare for a new age where we become the new shepherds of revolutionary ideas, provided that we are nurtured by inclusion and empowerment. As the world shrinks, people are no longer providing spaces and places for us and our diversity.
In our Whatsapp initiative, we build sanctuaries of inclusion where others chose to erect walls of exclusion. We break bridges where others chose to tear them down. Here, you will find more than just awareness but acceptance, action and accountability to ensure a safe inclusive haven for us and others whose cups are empty and open.
Our work to make society inclusive and to defend that inclusion, is never done. My generation and the generation of autistics after me, will continue the work to create space for our diverse needs. I am Tygar Creek, digital artist, storywriter, an autistic person and fellow Administrator.
Message from Nigel Ng:
I am a living example of a person with ASD who has overcome many challenges in life. Since I was diagnosed with ASD when I was 5 years old, I overcome the difficulties by attending speech and occupational therapies at Autism Resource Centre (ARC) to improve my social and motor skills. I also persevered in my studies and this has enabled me to pull through until my 4th and final year in NUS where I major in Life Science. I also aspire to achieve a successful career in biomedical research and by being an admin of some of the ASD chat groups, I intend to set a good example for other autistics to follow.
As autistic individuals transition into adulthood, it is necessary for them to be equipped with life skills. By being part of the admin team, I aim to help ASD individuals and their parents by providing sound advice on academic options and how to excel in their subjects, using my personal experience on how I cope with my studies which include having extra time. I also want to promote inclusion for ASD individuals and help them get over setbacks e.g. being bullied by classmates which is commonly faced by ASD students. Last but not least, I want to show them that having a positive attitude is important for achieving success in academics, career and social life by sharing my achievements and giving them encouragement to persevere.
Message from Marcus Tio:
I am one exemplification of an autistic individual who has braved the odds throughout his existence. After being diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at the tender age of five, I conquered the challenges by undergoing occupational therapy at National University Hospital Child Development Unit (NUH CDU) to enhance my social and motor skills. I also persisted academically, and this has enabled me to make it to NUS where I am currently pursuing an Honours degree in Chemistry. I also hope to attain a high-flying career in the manufacturing sector, and as an administrative member of some of the ASD chat groups, I plan to be a role model for other autistic people.
As autistic people go through transitions in life, they need to prepare themselves for the real world. Through my membership in the administrative team, I target to aid autistic people and parents with autistic children via offering of wise counsel on how to excel academically and choose their academic routes, based on my story about how I dealt with academia, including going for tuition. I also hope to advocate inclusion for autistic people and share with them stories about how I was bullied in primary school and lower secondary to let them know that they are not alone, because bullying is a common problem among us. Finally, I wish to let them know that never giving up and constantly looking for ways to improve themselves is the key to performing well in their studies, career and social life by sharing how I did it, as well as give them moral support to press on regardless of the obstacles they face in life.
Message from Yi Jian:
I was diagnosed with autism at age 6; there seemed to not be much hope from the eyes of the doctors initially given the way society thought of autism then. Despite all odds, my parents persevered and with both their unrelenting efforts and my own, I can count myself fortunate to made it through the mainstream education system to university.
Even then, such success have also had an element of luck; what if my parents had given up? What if I was not so lucky to grow up in a stable family environment? Sadly my story is not always the norm; stigma against autism and poor information about autism all too frequently leads towards dismal situations that a significant number of autistics all too frequently end up in. It was as such that I decided to step up and be more active with autism advocacy; one such action is being an admin in this Whatsapp community.
I hope that here we can have honest discussions about what it really means to live with autism and what we can do to break down these barriers and allow for a more inclusive society for all, regardless of whether one is neurotypical or neurodivergent.