Building confidence in youths with autism
22 August 2012 0 comments
As part of a community service initiative, 110 staff from Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) befriended and guided a group of youths with autism on a customised one-day adventure experience at OBS’s East Coast campus. Forty-seven youths aged 18 and above from St. Andrew’s Autism Centre (SAAC) and Eden Centre for Adults (ECA) participated in the event held on 7 August 2012.
The youths participated in various outdoor activities with the guidance of OBS staff, such as Instructors Shaik Muhammad Iftikhaar and Wan Yoke Ling, who encouraged the youths to conquer their fears and leverage on their strengths. Activities such as scaling the rock wall, navigating through a dark tunnel-maze and playing team games were among those that the youths enjoyed at the adventure programme.
Working with special needs participants is not a new experience for these OBS staff. They leveraged on their past experience organising programmes for the hearing impaired and intellectually-challenged children to specially tailor a fun yet safe programme to provide youths the opportunity to experience a unique OBS adventure which served to instil confidence. The OBS Adventure programme also helped participants develop life skills such as teamwork, communication and leadership.
Kelvin Ong, who heads the Day Activity Centre at SAAC shared, “The youths have moderate to severe autism, and we were pleasantly surprised that most of them managed to climb the rock wall. It was a major accomplishment for them indeed. They also enjoyed the calm surroundings and wide open space that OBS offered.”
OBS staff, Anne-Marie Tan reflected, “These youths needed a lot of support and guidance when attempting the height elements. However, when they reached their target, you could see the sense of accomplishment and pride on their faces. Their eyes lit up and they were smiling when they came down. The joy on their faces was a sight to behold!”
The OBS Community Service Day is an annual event that allowed staff the opportunity to do their part for the under-served communities.
Find out more about what the OBS has to offer to youths as well as adult participants on the Outward Bound Singapore website and check out photos of past adventure programmes at the Outward Bound Singapore Facebook page.