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18-year-old Lee Yi Xuan would come across like any other normal teens at a glance but unbeknownst to those who barely knows him, Yi Xuan was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) when he was 5. His parents never thought that their second born child would be autistic even with the tell-tale signs of poor communications with this classmates and friends in kindergarten. Upon the observations of his teachers, Yi Xuan, was referred to KKH where he was later diagnosed to be having autism.

Yi Xuan (second from left) with his supportive and loving family.

Growing up wasn’t exactly a bed of roses for Yi Xuan as in addition to the poor communication skills he had with people; he was also unable to display social empathy and behaviours in appropriate settings. However, through his years at Metta School since he joined in 2009, the special tailored programmes and activities have helped Yi Xuan overcome his challenges and shy demeanour. Together with the support of his teachers, close-knit family members and peers, Yi Xuan is now more confident in exploring new approaches and ways of doing things, a far cry from his younger self before he received special education at Metta School.

Now that Yi Xuan has grown up and ready to face the working world, new challenges awaits him. While at Metta School, Yi Xuan’s trainers guides him in his vocational trainings and focus their attention on what he likes and dislikes so as to cater the training approach according to his needs, ability and interest.

Other relevant skills that entail in the work place, such as calculating money and interacting with various people in different situational settings are also taught to Yi Xuan to prepare him for working life.

As many of us knows, to do a job well is not merely just getting the job well done, but it also means being able to express social skills such as empathy according to appropriate situations. Over time, Yi Xuan demonstrated improved social skills such as communicating with others and adaptability in different work environments. These improvements had even made him stand out among his peers to garner the LKY Exemplary Student Award 2020 for his excellent performance and growth, an honour that brought pride to his family and teachers. The Lee Kuan Yew Exemplary Student Award (LKY-ESA) aims to honour students in government-funded special education schools who have risen above the odds to become exemplary role models to their peers through their progress and contributions in various areas.

Looking ahead, Yi Xuan hopes to be able to graduate from ITE in Housekeeping, a vocational skill that he was trained in during his Metta School years and continue his passion in the hospitality sector.

Photo by Tamara Menzi on Unsplash

Fundraise for Maitri School/Building

Maitri School is open to admission of all students with Moderate to Severe Autism irrespective of race, religion or financial means, but with priority given to Singapore Citizens. The new school will offer 25 places per cohort for students aged 7-18 years old and have a total school capacity of 300 places. Maitri Programme will be guided by the Curriculum Framework for SPED Schools in the design and delivery of quality and holistic education for students. At the end of their education, students should be able to achieve the Living, Learning and Working outcomes in six core learning domains: academic, social-emotional, daily living, vocational, the arts, physical education and sports.

Your kind donations will help us in building additional classrooms, Performing and Visual Arts room, Vocational Training rooms, ICT rooms, Virtual Reality room, additional Speech Therapist room, Transport Simulator & Rooftop play area.

The new building will be located at 20 Pasir Ris Street 51, Singapore 518902. Slated to complete in year 2024.