Launch of ‘Great Night Out’ & Autism Awareness Exhibition at Raffles Place Park
- In support of Autism Awareness Month in April
Please click here to hear more parents’ stories in this video
Please click here to register for Great Night Out as a participant or volunteer/sponsor
4 April 2016, Singapore – ‘Great Night Out’ and the Autism Awareness Exhibition were launched today at Raffles Place Park. Organised by Brainy Moves Pte Ltd and Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) in support of Autism Awareness Month in April, the exhibition aims to raise awareness of the struggles faced by parents in caring for their children with special needs and build greater understanding and inclusiveness in our Singapore society.
Great Night Out
Also launched today, Great Night Out’ is a project where parents can place their special needs children at Brainy Moves’ studio once a month for free to enjoy activities with coaches experienced in caring for children with special needs, as well as volunteers. Parents will be able to enjoy an evening out as a couple to connect and strengthen their relationship and single parents can enjoy me-time. Meals will be provided for the children during the evenings at Brainy Moves. The first two ‘Great Night Out’ evenings will be held on 25 April and 23 May 2016. Up to 30 children (aged 3 & above) and their parents will be able to benefit from this initiative each evening.
Autism Awareness Exhibition @ Raffles Place
The Autism Awareness Exhibition aims to raise awareness amongst Singaporeans about autism. Packed with real stories by parents who face struggles when bringing children with autism out in public places, the exhibition also shares acts of kindness they experienced, how exercise as well as engagement with nature improves autism, and how members of the public can show greater understanding and support for parents. The exhibition is held at Raffles Place Park from 4 to 15 April 2016 and is kindly supported by British Education Centre. The venue is kindly provided by National Parks Board.
During the exhibition, volunteers from Brainy Moves and students from APSN will be present during lunch times to raise funds for the Association as part of activities to commemorate APSN’s 40th anniversary.
On why he organised the initiatives, James Tang, founder of Brainy Moves, shared: “Many parents who have children with special needs often relate their struggles to me. I noticed they share the same struggles, including lack of understanding by others in public places, which adds stress in already difficult situations. We hope that through this exhibition, more people are aware that children with autism may have heightened senses and experience sensory overload. For example, what is noisy to us, they experience many times more of everything. Hence, they are unable to cope and this sometimes results in a public meltdown. We hope that members of the public can be more understanding, or even offer a helping hand and build a more inclusive society in Singapore.”
Nicole Wong, a mother of two boys including one with autism, shared: “Not many people understand what we go through. We had many unpleasant experiences in public before, including being chased off the bus and taxi. I am happy this exhibition will help people understand more about children with autism, and hopefully show us more understanding. We hope to have an inclusive environment, where we are able to share the same common spaces. I am also happy that the exhibition shares about how important exercise is for people with autism. My son improved so much after a few months of regular exercise, which is his only form of intervention. From being non-verbal, he began to not only speak but hold purposeful conversations, read with understanding, write a short composition, and is much better able to regulate and control his emotions. It has made it a lot easier for me.”
APSN President, Mr Chan Chee Keong, said: “Our Vision reads “to develop individuals with special needs to their fullest potential so that they can lead dignified, fulfilling and independent lives as integral member of society”. We at APSN strive to make this ideal a reality for our students. We are happy to be part of this meaningful project that is one of the many activities to commemorate our 40th anniversary and contribute to building an inclusive society in Singapore.”
On ‘Great Night Out’, James Tang, who also conducts therapy for special needs children at Brainy Moves, added: “Taking care of children with special needs can be very exhausting and draining for parents. For low-income families, it can take a toll on their marriage, relationships, and family finances as often, these parents have no me-time to rest or date nights to bond and strengthen their marriage, because they do not have the means to engage a sitter or helper, and lack community support to care for their children even for just one evening out. Research has shown that couples need time to connect for a more loving relationship, which also helps them to be better parents. ‘Great Night Out’ will be an evening that we hope both parents and children will enjoy, and contribute to building stronger marriages, and stronger families. We hope to galvanise more commercial entities that are experienced in care of special needs children to join us in organising more ‘Great Night Out’ activities all over Singapore, or contribute to this movement in any small way and turn this into a movement so that many more families can benefit from this.”
Nicole further shared: “As the main caregiver for my two sons and a working mum, I am occupied by chores when they are asleep or during any other time when I am not working. ‘Great Night Out’ will offer me some time to myself and take a breather while knowing my boys are in safe care.”
Brainy Moves is calling out for volunteers for ‘A Great Night Out’. Sponsors for dining vouchers for parents to enjoy an evening out, or gluten-free meals for children with special needs for the evenings are also welcome. Interested parties can click here for more information.
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For media enquiries, please contact:
James Tang at firstname.lastname@example.org or +65 8338 7578 or
Ufairah Akram at email@example.com or +65 6479 6252
About Brainy Moves
Brainy Moves is a holistic science-based brain training programme that uses complex exercise and play to boost the brain in children and adults for better performance. Endorsed by Dr John Ratey, Associate Professor from Harvard Medical School, Brainy Moves is also effective as therapy for autism, ADHD, and dyslexia.
Developed by James Tang (who guest lectures to MOE teachers at the National Institute of Education), Brainy Moves is also conducted at preschools, primary and secondary schools to boost learning and high order thinking abilities in children. For more information, please visit www.brainymoves.org and www.facebook.com/brainymoves
Since 1976, The Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) is a voluntary welfare organization providing special education for persons with mild intellectual disability (IQ 50 – 70) through a holistic approach in the development of academic, vocational and social skills.
The Association provides dedicated and specialised educational pathways aged 7 years to 21 years. The Centre for Adults provides continued vocational training and preparation for open employment age 17 years old all the way to adulthood. Our Association is an approved Institution of Public Character (IPC) and is supported by the National Council of Social Service (Community Chest), the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social and Family Development. For more information, please visit www.apsn.org.sg and www.facebook.com/apsn.org.sg