A Unique Way of Communicating
Ignatius Low, age 21, has autism. His unique way of communicating, using two words at a time or words with two syllables, is how he best understands instructions. For example, if he is praised for closing the door, he would find it easier to understand, “Thank you!” rather than “I appreciate that.”
He registers abbreviations such as “NTUC” better if it is broken into “N/T” and “U/C”. The Programme Staff at COH observed that Ignatius needs more time to process what he hears if it is not in bite-size amounts.
Too many words can overwhelm and “freeze” him and it can take hours for him to “unfreeze”.
Sensitive to sound, he also used to bang his head on the wall when he first came to the Centre. However, he has since learnt to tolerate noise better and moderate his actions.
All these episodes have reduced in just a little over the year that Ignatius has been at COH.
If there is anything endearing about Ignatius, it is the fact that he a foodie! He loves French Fries and Fried Chicken. But, he also tends to grab his friends’ chicken wings.
Knowing that his Teachers are keeping a watchful eye over him, Ignatius is slowly learning to let his friends enjoy their chicken wings as much as he finds them irresistible.
At COH, Ignatius is growing to understand social norms and to show restraint -important skills that have enabled him to broaden his horizons outside of his home.
He Has Grown So Much!
Mr Harjit Singh is the Programme Officer in charge of the class that Ignatius attends at Emmanuel Activity Centre (Toa Payoh).
“I am very proud of Ignatius, especially his ability to do 3-D puzzles!” says Harjit. “It is not easy for someone with autism to construct such puzzles because it calls for him to take on different perspectives. Ignatius faced some difficulty initially, but mastered it in just two weeks.”
Ignatius is now applying his newfound problem-solving skills and ability to take on other points of view, to his life. This has helped him to have a better grasp of his context as well as improve his interaction with others.
Ignatius has found a place in COH, where he can learn and grow continually, in spite of autism. The little breakthroughs he has made in the year past, have helped him grow in understanding and made a world of a difference in his life.
About the Author: The COH Resource Team comprises volunteers, content writers and experts, including psychologists, counsellors, educators and social service professionals.