Mr Ng Li Jie, 21, is autistic, and was shunned by his classmates at Singapore Polytechnic.
Though Mr Ng found a group of close friends there, he felt more could be done to integrate people like him.
So he joined Superhero Me, a ground-up arts movement and non-profit arts company that fosters inclusion of children with special needs.
It started in 2014 and has 60 volunteers, called “captains”.
They have reached out to nearly 16,000 people so far.
Mr Ng, who has mild autism and is a Superhero Me captain, told The New Paper of his challenges moving from Pathlight School to poly.
He said: “The transition was a major leap for me. It was definitely a step out of my comfort zone, and I was so paranoid at my first orientation session.
“This does not happen often, but I was actually shunned by some of my classmates. I offered to be a part of their groups but most of them didn’t let me join.”
He said they stayed with people they knew. He was also socially awkward and afraid to talk to people, which made the problem worse.
Mr Ng said his social skills improved in poly.
In March, 31 children – 16 with special needs and 15 children without – attended Superhero Me’s first inclusive arts camp held at Enabling Village in Redhill.
Superhero Me’s founder, Miss Jean Loo, 33, told TNP: “When we talk about inclusion, we are talking about shifting public attitudes, and this boils down to creativity.
“Creatives play a big role in shaping the conversation regarding inclusion.”
Miss Kyna Ho, 19, is the youngest captain and was a Superhero Me intern from January to March this year.
Miss Ho, a final-year child psychology and early education student in Ngee Ann Polytechnic, said her brother has autism.
She said: “Growing up, my brother would be shunned by children at the playground. I have seen his meltdowns and teachers would just leave him lying down in front of the glass door at the childcare centre.
For full article, please visit: https://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore/inclusive-camp-special-needs-kids