Fathers’ Day was celebrated last Sunday and we would like to share stories of two fathers who are exemplary in their caregiving role raising their children who have special needs.
Mr Roslan Bin Kamal
Mr Roslan Bin Kamal’s five-year-old son, Fareez Farishta Bin Roslan, was diagnosed with speech and language delay two years ago. Even though most toddlers can say about 50 or more words by the time they turn two years old, Mr Roslan felt it was normal for children not to talk until they are five to six years old during his time. So despite the fact that Fareez did not speak like other children his age, Mr Roslan did not feel the need to send him for a check-up. He only found out Fareez’s condition when he was admitted to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital for a fever and Mr Roslan approached the doctor to ask about Fareez’s lack of ability to communicate.
“The first key point is acceptance of your child’s condition. Upon acceptance, the next point would be involvement, which means constantly encouraging and motivating your child to conquer his or her fears,” said Mr Roslan Bin Kamal.
Although the parenting journey has been tough for Mr Roslan, with one of the biggest challenges being the difficulty in communicating with Fareez, he never thought of giving up on his son. Mr Roslan then enrolled Fareez into the Building Bridges EIPIC Centre at SPD@Jurong in October 2014.
Apart from putting the interventions taught at the centre into practice, Mr Roslan also takes time off from work to spend time with Fareez and gets involved in his developmental milestones, be it teaching and guiding him in his homework, bringing him for outings to help him familiarise with the different environments and to socialise with others. Mr Roslan feels that Fareez should be given ample opportunity to explore new things so as to gain new insights and to expand his horizon which will be crucial to his learning in the long run.
Social worker Vania Teo is impressed with Mr Roslan’s dedication towards Fareez and feels that this is an important aspect in his growth. She said: “By having a strong bond and taking the effort to understand his needs, it will go a long way as this will help to instil values in Fareez that will be essential for his growth in character as a person.”
“As a parent, we must never ever give up. We must keep going and celebrate the small successes, one step at a time,”
said Mr Roslan.
Mr Kua Sim Choon
Mr Kua Sim Choon has been seeing to the every need of his 37-year-old stepson, Lim Joo Phiau, ever since he sustained traumatic brain injuries from a road traffic accident in 2003. Mr Kua does not mind that Joo Phiau is not his biological son and has been motivated to continue his caregiving duties out of genuine love for him for the past 14 years. Mr Kua is unable to work as Joo Phiau, paralysed on the right side of his body and unable to move on his own, is fully dependent on him for all his activities of daily living, such as bathing, toileting, dressing, feeding etc. Unemployed and having used up his savings, Mr Kua relies on monthly social assistance. A religious charity also helps with their daily expenses.
Both father and son share a close bond. Mr Kua goes through the daily activities with clock-like regularity and, as Joo Phiau cannot communicate verbally, Mr Kua instinctively looks out for and interprets his son’s body language with accuracy. Joo Phiau never wants to be taken anywhere by anyone other than Mr Kua. Their favourite outing is a monthly road trip from their home in Sengkang to Joo Phiau’s regular barber in Ang Mo Kio.
As age catches up, Mr Kua is feeling the physical strain of looking after his son. He has an array of medical problems, including arthritis in his left knee and a previous spine operation which prevents him from standing for too long. Even then, Mr Kua is still soldiering on in his caregiving duties and shows no sign of stopping his steadfast care of Joo Phiau.
“I’m hoping for a miracle, for my son to walk and be independent again. That way I can go outside and find a job to support us,” he said.