Abilities

A few days ago, I mused on Facebook about TOUCH volunteering its people as part of our nation’s birthday.

Today is a video that I personally thought was very touching.

Never judge a person by external appearanceCredits: Bus Stop Films

Posted by TU EDM on Saturday, 3 August 2019

When we look at people with learning needs and disabilities, we are often shrouded by the word “disability” so much that we forget they have abilities after all.

In this video, what struck me personally was how James managed to diffuse the barriers that typically stood between interviewer and interviewee have an honest conversation beyond just transactional matters. A psychologist might have written, on his diagnosis, that this was an example of “underdeveloped social skills”, which clearly led to a far more positive outcome: the law firm has got itself someone with the correct convictions, whereas James did his job as “interviewer” very well as part of being in gainful employment.

The learning point is this: there are abilities in dis’abilities’, and at times, these unique abilities make them outshine neurotypicals at certain job tasks. We should think about integrating people and finding meaningful work that best suits our people, not try to shoehorn them into our definition of what defines a “typical” person.

As for TOUCH, that was why I was so touched when I saw their efforts on NDP day. They were so conscientious at making every single balloon and fulfilling every child’s request of taking pictures with the photoframes. They did that tirelessly, throughout the parade. It was symbolic and practical to give them a role during NDP to be “one people, one nation, one Singapore” in that regard, and we should strive to be inclusive. Everyone has abilities and can play a part in a larger ecosystem that needs people with different abilities and skillsets.

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