A Voice of Our Own

Issue 9, Apr - Jun 2015

Dear Friends & Supporters 

Greetings from Disabled People's Association!

What's New

New Publication Series

As part of our advocacy initiative, DPA is working on a series of publications about the state of inclusion in various sectors - namely, transport, employment, education and healthcare. Persons with disabilities and internal stakeholders such as service providers and corporate partners will be invited to share their feedback on how inclusive transport, healthcare, employment and education are in Singapore. The information will be collated, analysed and cited in DPA booklets.

The booklets will give an overview of the current state of inclusive practices and then make recommendations for how they can be improved. The booklets will be informed by the feedback gathered at the sessions with persons with disabilities.

The booklets on An Introduction to Inclusive Practices and Achieving Inclusion in Transport have already been published. Click here and here to download the booklets or drop by our office to grab a free copy!

The booklet on employment will be published in May 2015. The next booklets on education and healthcare are due to be published in the last quarter of 2015.

Free Entry to Sentosa Merlion, Wings Of Time and Fort Siloso for DPA Members

 In celebration of SG50 this year, DPA members have free entry into the Sentosa Merlion, Wings Of Time and Fort Siloso till the end of the year. DPA members just need to present their membership card to enjoy the complimentary admission. 

Source of information: here.

Autism Network Singapore

Four non-profit, autism service providers have joined forces to form Autism Network Singapore (ANS).

The four are Autism Association (Singapore) (AAS), Autism Resource Centre (Singapore) (ARC), Rainbow Centre, Singapore (RC) and St Andrew’s Autism Centre (SAAC).

ANS is meant to serve the autism community better, in areas like early intervention, lifelong education and job placement.

Learn more about the network here.

Appropriate Adult Scheme

On 31 March 2015, the Appropriate Adult Scheme was launched to provide persons with developmental disabilities (PWDDS) with trained volunteers who will act as a bridge between them and police investigation officers. The Appropriate Adult accompanies PWDDs and facilitates the police interview process, enabling PWDDs to understand the Officer’s queries and communicate more effectively. This provides PWDDs a safeguard from wrongful admission of a crime that they did not commit.

The Central Singapore CDC, Attorney-General’s Chambers and Law Society are currently looking for volunteers.

The criteria for volunteers are as follows:
• Aged 21 years and above
• Willing to be activated at all hours of the day
• Have a passion and interest toward helping persons with developmental disabilities
• Capable of level-headed and sound reasoning
• Attend a mandatory one-day training session and selection process.

Training sessions will be held depending on demand, and the dates will be updated once confirmed. The next two upcoming trainings as follows:
- Saturday 11 April, 9 am to 4pm 
- Saturday 18 April, 9 am to 4pm

If you, or someone you know, are interested to becoming an Appropriate Adult volunteer, you can register online here. Upon registration, a representative from the Law Society of Singapore will contact you with more information.

New Disabled-friendly Playground

A new playground in Sembawang has disabled-friendly features catering to children with special needs. These features include a ramp and handrails, panels with bells and drums for children with a visual disability, and swing seats that can secure children with physical disabilities.

Dr Marissa Lee Medjeral-Mills, DPA's Executive Director, suggests that schools close to the playground and organisations which help people with disabilities might consider organising an outing to the playground. She also suggests publicising the accessible transport routes to this playground through maps or guides to encourage people to go and use the playground.

Learn more about the playground here.

Coming Up

Advancing Inclusive Practices: How to Plan and Deliver Inclusion training

Building on our Inclusive Practices Workshop, DPA is being supported by Care & Share to provide a unique opportunity for individuals to learn from our former Diversity & Inclusion Consultant, Nina Munday, with a step-by-step guide, on how to plan and deliver diversity and inclusion training.  Nina has an exceptional track record in delivering equality training in Singapore and the UK.

At this two-day training course, you will learn the techniques in designing and conducting a programme of activities based on your personal experience and knowledge.  You will also learn the approaches you can adopt in your promotional strategy.  Moreover, you will acquire the confidence to lead discussions on fairness and equality.

The course will take place on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 May 2015, 9:30am to 4:00pm at DPA’s Training Room.

Delegate’s fee for the complete course (inclusive of 70% subsidy from Care & Share):

Corporate Organisations – $150

Government Departments and Voluntary Welfare Organisations – $120

DPA’s Members – $75 (waged) and $40 (unwaged)

Please refer to this information sheet for more details about this course.  To reserve a place or for further clarification, please call Halipa Ahmad at 6791 1134 or email info@dpa.org.sg.


Accessibility Sharing Session II

On 25 April 2015, DPA held an Accessibility Sharing Session II at OnePeople.sg for the Deaf community in Singapore to share their thoughts about Deaf rights, particularly the right on access to information. A total of 32 people joined the session, including DPA staff members, The Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf) members, sign language interpreters and other hearing members of public.

The session commenced with a brief introduction/welcome speech by Jorain Ng, DPA’s Advocacy Executive. Yeo Chi Jin Alfred then educated the audience about Deaf rights, particularly their right on access to information by referring to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, specifically Article Nine on access to information, which Singapore ratified in 2013. Alfred then spoke about the Enabling Masterplan 2012-2016 and some of the Government provisions for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing such as the induction loop system in selected buildings and the Emergency Short Messaging Service (SMS). Following that, Alfred highlighted some of the issues faced by the Deaf community and also went through basic factors that guarantee Deaf rights: sign language, captioning services, visual information and service providers.

The second session was presented by Clerc Communications, Wang Li-Sa and Low Jarn May, who taught the audience about the differences between translating and transliterating, and what it means to interpret language. They also gave pointers on how to work with an interpreter and note-taker. The dialogue then ended with a Question and Answer session.

DPA thanks the speakers for their time and effort, and also thanks all participants for joining the Accessibility Sharing Session. DPA is glad to see such great interest in Deaf rights. It was especially significant to hear the speakers calling on the audience to advocate for their rights, rather than relying on the Government alone to anticipate the needs of the people and do things for them. DPA has always stressed that persons with disabilities should speak up for themselves and get involved in policy consultation and formation process so that any Government initiative that seeks to better their situation have a chance of being truly effective.

This is the second sharing session organised by DPA and presented by Alfred Yeo, and it will not be the last. The great response has encouraged DPA to hold another Accessibility Sharing Session. DPA will keep you posted on the date and time of the next session in the near future. Keep a lookout for updates about the event on DPA’s website and Facebook.

Pioneer Heartbeat Day

On 8 April 2015, DPA participated in the Pioneer Heartbeat Day – an event organised by the Pioneer Junior College Interact Club for the student population to learn about the various social/welfare organisations in Singapore. From 1 pm to 3:30 pm, DPA manned a booth at Pioneer Junior College, showcasing our publications and sharing information about DPA and the various volunteering opportunities available.

DPA is glad to see students expressing interest to volunteer and do their part for society. Cultivating the mindset of inclusion should start from young, and will go a long way in building an inclusive Singapore society. DPA thanks the Pioneer Interact Club for organising such a meaningful event, and looks forward to participating in more of such events.

Anyone who would like to volunteer with DPA can register online here.

Advanced Soap Making Class

On 21 March 2015, DPA held an advanced soap-making class at DPA’s premises from 3 pm to 6 pm. The class was run by two SOHO Nature trainers, Ken Ong and Keith Ong. SOHO Nature is a social enterprise that aims to empower individuals with the ability to run their own home based businesses, and to assist marginalised communities in society to have better lives.

A total of eight persons attended the class, including DPA staff, members, volunteers and caregivers. Participants were paired up, and were first taught to make customised lollipop soaps. Participants also received an instruction manual that lists the ingredients and tool required, and preparation steps and procedures. Participants also learned to make their own soapy cupcake scrubs. By the end of the class, everyone has soaps customised to their own preferences, and could bring them home as gifts or souvenirs.

This was DPA’s third collaboration with SOHO Nature, the other two being an aromatherapy class and soap-making class. DPA thanks SOHO Nature for running these fun and interactive sessions, as well as the picture frame gift, and wishes SOHO Nature all the best in their future endeavours!

Visit SOHO Nature’s website here.

DPA Feedback Session on Transport and Employment 

On 14 February 2015, DPA held a feedback session on transport and employment at DPA’s premises. The purpose of this session was to gather as much insight as possible into the issues faced by persons with disabilities while commuting on trains, buses and/or taxis, as well as the barriers faced in seeking and maintaining employment. 

A total of 25 people attended the session, including DPA members, volunteers, staff, and other members of the public wishing to learn more about the issues faced by persons with disabilities.

At 10:30 am, the session commenced with a brief introduction by DPA’s Executive Director, Dr Marissa Medjeral Mills, who then facilitated the feedback session on transport. After the first session ended, all participants enjoyed a light lunch break. The session recommenced at 1 pm, with Dr Marissa facilitating the feedback session on employment.

DPA thanks all participants for coming down and sharing their experiences with us. Their input is very valuable and will help inform our advocacy projects.

GLUE Conference 2015 and Workshop at SMU

On 3 February 2015, DPA attended a conference on Education for Inclusive Workspaces held at the Singapore Management University (SMU). The GLUE conference was jointed organised by SPD and SMU’s Diversity and Inclusion team.

The conference commenced with an opening address and welcome speeches from the President of SMU, Mr Arnoud De Meyer, the President of SPD, Ms Chia Yong Yong, and the Minister of State, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Communications and Information, Ms Sim Ann. The Associate Director at University of Arizona’s Disability Resource Centre, Dr Amanda Kraus, then shared her knowledge on the issues facing persons with disabilities.

Following that, four distinguished speakers – Dr Wong Meng Ee, an Assistant Professor at National Institute of Education, Ms Angela Chung, a Senior Social Worker at SPD, Mr Jeffery Goh, an SMU Alumnus, and Mr Albert Lee, a Senior Lecturer at Dyslexia Association of Singapore – explored key questions surrounding inclusion and disability within the education system.

At the second panel session, three international business representatives – Mr Rajan Raju, the Head of Retail Clients Singapore at Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore), Ms Anika Grant, APAC and ASEAN Human Resources Director, Accenture, and Ms Charlotte Park, CEO at Mercer Singapore – addressed the issue of workplace biases and also highlighted the benefits of inclusive workplaces.

On the following day, 4 February 2015, Dr Amanda Kraus and Dr Marissa Medjeral-Mills co-presented a workshop, ‘Framing Disability: From Words to Action’ at SMU. This three hour workshop was designed to build on what was discussed at the first day of the conference and explore contemporary portrayals of disability in universities, at work and in society. Dr Kraus led participants in a discussion about the medical, charity and social models of disability and Dr Medjeral-Mills spoke about how those models of disability have informed disability policy in Singapore.

The workshop was an interactive forum in which participants were encouraged to reflect on their personal experiences of disability and how they perceive and speak about disability. Participants were also asked to look at practices and policies within their institutions or organisations and how they can be made more inclusive by incorporating the social model of disability.

Overall DPA was delighted to be part of this interactive conference and was glad to see a diverse mix of individuals from different sectors, backgrounds and professions coming together to discuss pertinent issues affecting persons with disabilities.

DPA congratulates SMU and SPD for a job well-done, and hopes to see more dialogue on disability issues so that disability activists have an avenue to discuss and share experiences. This will bring us closer to our goal of making Singapore a more inclusive society.

Access to Music for All Discovery Evening

On 28 January 2015, DPA attended the Access to Music for All Discovery Evening at Raffles Girls Secondary School, KS Chee Theatre. The aim of the event was to give participants an appreciation of the power of Assistive Music Technology to enable music access to all.

After a welcome speech by Ms Michelle Lee, Founder and Director of I’m Soul Inc, and Mrs Carmee Lim, a former Raffles Girls’ School principal, about the importance of music for healing, enjoyment and enrichment, there was a musical demonstration by three Assistive Music Technology Facilitators – Mr Kelvin, Mr William and Ms Lily. They are visually impaired and had no musical background. Yet they could produce melodious music by simply pressing or squeezing an electronic device called the Skoog.

Following that, Phil Heeley, a trainer, teacher and consultant specialising in music technology, demonstrated to the audience other musical instruments that can be easily played by persons with disabilities. Mr Leo Chen Ian, DPA board member, also went on stage to demonstrate the use of Soundbeam technology. He composed music using the movement of his wheelchair.

After the demonstration ended, everyone was invited to try out the musical instruments and join I’m Soul Inc’s Enrichment and Facilitation Workshops.

DPA had a good time learning about the many music technologies, and would like to thank I’m Soul Inc for the invite!

For more information on I’m Soul Inc, click here.

For more photos of the event, please visit our facebook page.

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