Teen with autism scores 7 points at O-Level exams
SINGAPORE — Joel Lee, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), started primary school a year later than his peers, joining the first cohort at Pathlight School.
A year later, he was able to transfer to a mainstream primary, and went on to Zhonghua Secondary School, where he did well academically and in his co-circular activity (CCA), despite a bumpy start getting along with his schoolmates.
Today (Jan 12), he was among the 30,964 students who received their O-Level results, achieving an L1R5 score of seven points.
Joel was diagnosed with the condition at the age of two, and his mother, Mdm Karan Tan, was worried he would not be able to cope in a mainstream school and enrolled him in Pathlight. Her fears proved unfounded, when he scored an aggregate of 242 in the Primary School Leaving Examinations at Cedar Primary School.
While ASD can affect individuals in their social interactions, communication and interests, Mdm Tan described Joel’s condition as mild, and save for the occasional outburst — triggered by irritation — he generally gets along well with his peers.
As a staff sergeant in the Boys’ Brigade, he tutored his junior cadets in his free time. “He has learnt to manage his social behaviour,” said Mdm Tan. “(It’s) when he gets irritated with other people by comments and remarks (about him that) he will (have an outburst)”.
The 17-year-old did experience some bullying by his peers in school, where schoolmates would make fun of his condition or the way he spoke, but support from his teachers and school counsellor at Zhonghua Secondary helped him cope.
“My form teachers encourage me whenever I was feeling down or feeling upset and asked me to share my problems,” he said. By Secondary 4, the bullying was minimal, he added.
Mdm Tan, 57, an admin executive, said she found the school’s open communication with her and her husband reassuring. For example, when Joel had an outburst at a CCA fair and the school decided not to nominate him for a CCA award, they made sure to inform her first. “I thought it’s good that they informed me, they didn’t just take him out,” said Mdm Tan.
At Zhonghua, Joel excelled in mathematics and also took music as an O-Level subject — that the school offered the latter as an O-Level subject was one reason his parents picked the school. As Joel had played the piano since age 8, he could play to his strengths with the subject.
Read the full article at: http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/boy-autism-scores-7-points-o-level-exams