13 January 2012, Singapore – Singaporeans today are more accepting of people with disabilities as part of the community, workplace and everyday life. This is according to the findings uncovered by the Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD), which conducted a nationwide survey to gather the public’s perception towards people with disabilities.
This study, which mirrors an earlier survey conducted in 2009, is part of the SPD’s on-going ‘I Accept’ campaign which aims to encourage members of the public to accept people with disabilities as equal members of the society. A total of 904 respondents aged between 15 and 65 took part in the initiative, which consists of both street and online surveys, conducted from end November till end December 2011.
Key findings from the survey revealed:
- A considerable improvement in the public’s perceived barriers in communicating with people with disabilities. 25.3 per cent of the respondents indicated that they think it is harder to communicate and deal with people with disabilities than non-disabled people, compared to 43 per cent in 2009.
- A significant decrease in the number of people who feel that people with disabilities are dependent on others, from 47 per cent in 2009 to 13.4 per cent in the 2011 polls. 61.7 per cent disagreed with the statement, up from 39 per cent in 2009.
- 53.1 per cent of Singaporeans surveyed think that people with disabilities should be accompanied by a non-disabled person when going out to public places. This is a slight fall from the 66 per cent polled in 2009.
- 93.1 per cent of those surveyed agreed that more can be done to help people with disabilities on public transportation in Singapore, and 96.1 per cent also expressed the need for more members of the public to give way to people with disabilities while entering lifts and boarding trains.
- More Singaporeans are recognising people with disabilities as contributing members of society. Only 8.8 per cent of the respondents felt that people with disabilities are unable to perform as well as non-disabled people at work, a sharp decrease from the 23 per cent in 2009.
- A whopping 80.3 per cent of 61 respondents who are in a position to hire, are open to employing people with physical disabilities.
In addition to the above, there are also encouraging signs that Singaporeans are attitudinally ready to play an active role in accepting people with disabilities into their everyday lives. More than 65 per cent of the respondents stated that they had assisted someone with disabilities in the last 12 months. In fact, as many as 90.2 per cent indicated that they will not hesitate to help people with disabilities whom they see might need help. The public’s overall support for greater interaction also extends to children with disabilities, with 60.8 per cent of the respondents agreeing that they should be studying in mainstream schools alongside non-disabled children.
Ms Chia Yong Yong, President of the SPD, says: “Besides generating awareness and greater acceptance of people with disabilities in major areas such as employment and education, we hope to also cultivate graciousness in the public’s everyday encounters with people with disabilities such as showing a little more patience, giving way and lending a helping hand. It is heartening to see improvements in the level of receptiveness towards people with disabilities amongst Singaporeans, and we do hope to see this trend continue, and to see more people with disabilities integrated and included in our mainstream society.”
The SPD’s efforts to level the playing field for people with disabilities includes the Infocomm Accessibility Centre (IAC), a centre managed by SPD, which was formed through a People-Public-Private initiative between Microsoft, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, National Council of Social Service and the Tote Board. As the only centre in Singapore that provides IT training across disability types, the IAC has offered more than 4,300 training places since its inception in July 2008, including training places for IT, apprenticeship and assistive technology training sessions. The IT training helps people with disabilities find greater independence through securing jobs of higher value, and more than 1,200 persons with disabilities had since received IT training at the Centre. (For more information on the IAC, please visit http://www.iacentre.org.sg/.)
– ‘I Accept’ Campaign 2011 Survey Results
|1||People with disabilities should be accompanied by a non-disabled person when going out to public places like the market, shopping centres, using ATM etc.||2011||53.1%||25%|
|2||It is harder to communicate and deal with people with disabilities than non-disabled people||2011||25.3%||46.6%|
|3||People with disabilities are able to perform as well as non-disabled people at work||2011||68.1%||8.8%|
|4||People with disabilties are dependent and need other people to help them all the time, which can be troublesome||2011||13.4%||61.7%|
|5||More can be done to help people with disabilities on public transporatation in Singapore||2011||93.1%||1.5%|
|6||Members of the public should give way to people with disabilities who are getting into lifts and boarding trains||2011||96.1%||0.8%|
|7||Children with disabilities should be studying in mainstream schools alongside non-disabled children||2011||60.8%||10.1%|
|8||I have helped someone with disabilities in the last 12 months such as given way to them on public transport, helped someone with visual impairment to cross the road, or helped to push a wheelchair-user up a slope||2011||67.6%||14.3%|
|9||I will not hesitate to help people with disabilities whom i see might need help||2011||90.2%||1.4%|
|10||I am willing to hire someone with physical disabilities||2011||80.3%||1.6%|
|Did not indicate||2||0.2%||–||–|
|15 to 19 years||252||27.9%||–||10%|
|20 to 24 years||195||21.6%||–||19%|
|25 to 29 years||139||15.4%||–|
|30 to 34 years||101||11.2%||–||22%|
|35 to 39 years||57||6.3%||–|
|40 to 44 years||61||6.7%||–||23%|
|45 to 49 years||41||4.5%||–|
|50 to 54 years||32||3.5%||–||20%|
|55 to 59 years||17||1.9%||–|
|59 to 65 years||9||1%||–||6%|