Autistic Malaysian teen finds sense of belonging through Care2Run
Kok Meng and his son Hahn, 13, have been actively involved in Care2Run’s Foundation Programme, which has been specially designed with differently-abled children in mind.
“Hahn is non-verbal and tends to lose focus quite easily, especially during group activities. So, Care2Run’s one-on-one mentoring approach is of tremendous help,” Kok Meng said.
He said since joining the activities, Hahn has never complained about the early morning sessions and in fact, happily wakes up for them.
“During the first few sessions, I was constantly keeping an eye on Hahn. But soon I realised he was in good hands and I was comfortable enough to take a step back and let his mentors work with him. It was not an easy decision as I was used to spending a lot of time with Hahn before this, but I also wanted to allow his mentors the space to connect and interact with him,” he said.
Kok Meng, who is also a volunteer mentor at Care2Run says it takes a lot of patience and skill to connect with differently-abled children.
“The Care2Run training helps us all, as parents and volunteers, to understand the different challenges and the effort needed to engage with these kids,” he said.
He said he loved the multi-racial and family-oriented culture in Care2Run. The programme is well-planned and structured.
He said that Care2Run’s foundation programme has helped expand Hahn’s social circle and awareness.
“It is really important for him to know that there are communities out there that are supportive of him. And the community at large also needs to be aware of atypical people like him. The longer-term support of the communities can be fostered and sustained through an experiential working relationship. Care2Run has definitely increased the social experience for differently-abled children like Hahn and society at large,” he said.
He said Hahn’s listening skills and the ability to follow instructions have also improved along with his memory of certain routines which he now initiates on his own.
“He has developed a sense of belonging to a group. He recognizes the people in the group, and has made friends with his mentors. His confidence within a group setting has also increased,” he added.
Care2Run, a programme under the Wildpac Asia PLT uses sports to enhance executive function in young people, help them build social skills as well as improve their overall physical and mental health and psychological well-being.
RYTHM Foundation partners with Care2Run to support differently-abled young people to take part in a transformational sports programme.