Back in 2014, when I first started A Mother's Wish, I was worried for the uncertain future of Sebastien, my moderately autistic son, who would be turning 18. Despite his talents and capabilities, he struggled with self-injurious and aggressive behaviors during puberty, which turned our life in Singapore upside down for six years. Traumatized by the unpredictable onslaughts of Sebastien's behavior, I felt terribly alone.
Even though I was offered programs for him in Singapore, I did not feel that they would alleviate his deep-seated unhappiness that was triggering his meltdowns. The decision to move Sebastien overseas and wean him away from me was painful and heartbreaking. But I was taking a leap of faith in Sebastien that he would be strong enough to forge an existence independent of mine. That without me by his side, he would be given a genuine opportunity to "grow up".
With this leap, we have been extremely fortunate to have found an alternative "home" for Sebastien in Ubud (Bali), with loving carers we trained to care for him, and a warm and loving community at Sari Hati School — a free special needs school for the poor. Guided by Ibu Sari, the school that embodies the values of love, harmony and togetherness in its practices epitomizes the best of what a special needs community should offer. This is exactly what A Mother's Wish has been searching for!
It is my dream that one day, with A Mother's Wish, parents would not feel as alone as I did, in the face of a lack of options. After speaking to various parents, I recognize that each of us has our own unique struggles with our children because they are different and we parents also have our own expectations. Thus, no one solution or one program can fit all. As a result, it is vital for us to expand our quest to identify and support ever more effective programs targeted at individuals with intellectual disabilities requiring lifelong support.
To address both my concerns for Sebastien's future and offer support to effective programs for this oft-neglected group, A Mother's Wish has launched an e-commerce website. Featuring the original paintings by Sebastien, along with the scarves and shawls derived from his paintings, www.amotherswish.sg will enable him to make a living. It will also provide ongoing support for effective programmes targeted at helping learners with challenging intellectual disabilities requiring lifelong support, like Sari Hati School.
Funds will be disbursed when we have generated profits of SGD5,000, with ½ going to Sari Hati School — a free special needs school for the poor in Ubud, Bali, and the remainder to a nominated programme in Singapore or in the region.
Thank you in advance for your support. Please share about this cause with others!