Youth with and without disabilities mingle with one another at camp
Advocating social inclusion and empathy, Camp Confidante 2018 hopes to forge friendships between youth with and without intellectual disabilities (ID).
Fifty-one campers, from nine mainstream schools, to the 40 campers with mild ID and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), from Grace Orchard School, took part in the overnight camp held from June 29 to July 1 at the Boys' Brigade campsite in Sembawang.
It was organised by Special Olympics Asia Pacificto mark its 50th anniversary
The first Camp Confidante was in 2016. Having participated in that camp as facilitators, Mr Lawrence Chew Zheng Xiong, 22, and Miss Valerie Chua Kai Xin, 19, both National University of Singapore students, became the project directors of Camp Confidante 2018.
Miss Chua recalled an experience from the last camp where she managed to relate to a camper with ASD named Paolo.
She told The New Paper: "He would not speak to anyone and needed a teacher to communicate his needs. During games night, he exclaimed in joy when he successfully bounced a ping pong ball into a cup. Even his teacher was shocked.
"This is what we need to see more of and why I decided to helm this year's camp."
Buddy systems ensure that students with and without ID mingle with one another.
Camper Ahmad Nor Imran, 14,from Grace Orchard School, said the best part of the camp was making new friends from other schools.
Spectra Secondary School student Iris Yang Yi Ting, 15,said: "This is my first time interacting with people with ID.
"I used to think of them differently, but now I realise my perception (of special-needs people) is not true.
"With just a bit of patience and understanding, we can all communicate and the friendships built are no different."- DHANYA LINGESH