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    Letter of the week: A smile can help ease the challenge of looking after special needs kids, Forum News & Top Stories

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    I am a single mother of two boys with special needs. I am writing to let the public know about a common struggle for most parents of children with special needs.

    Like every other family, we need to go out with our kids.

    Do we need to explain that repetitive actions are normal for children with special needs, and humming is normal for some?

    So we are out buying groceries. The line in the supermarket gets really long and somehow luck is against us, and a trainee cashier is doing his shift. It takes less than 10 seconds for someone to notice my younger son, Ash. His constant humming and repetitive behaviour make him stand out.

    However, when it is our turn to pay, we are looked upon as if we have horns. I know my son has autism. So let’s just have the purchases rung up so we can get home fast. Why the need to stare at my son after each item is scanned?

    It makes me feel judged. It makes me wonder if autism is still something new to people in this age and time.

    It would be nice if the cashier can maintain his smile like how he did to the customer before us. Asking us how we are doing would be a bonus.

    We are not blaming anyone for our condition but please, let us blend in. We do know we are different and do not need reminders.

    Having children with special needs is already a challenge. Wouldn’t it be a breeze if we could go out and not feel like it is another battle we need to fight?

    I urge the public to be more sensitive and considerate towards our situation.

    Nur Sarah Qistina



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