SHEROES Bios: Yvonne Tai
SHEROES Bios is a collection of 12 selected stories taken from “ULTRAordinary SHEROES”, a collaborative project by The HEART Enterprise, Up Your Game Community, and Our Unique Stories to celebrate International Women’s Day 2019.
Yvonne volunteers with the Down Syndrome Association, and tells stories to children at kidsREAD sessions every week. Her son, diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, now joins her as a storyteller at kidsREAD too. She encourages him to volunteer as she believes that interaction with others will help to build his confidence. She also wants him to see that even with autism, he is able to help other people and live a meaningful life.
Even though her son received intervention from an early age, he found it difficult to see things from the perspective of another person. He often told stories in a manner which others found hard to follow. Sometimes, he interrupted when others were telling their stories. It took consistent guidance and correction, as well as opportunities to practise, for him to improve and tell stories properly. Having to consider others’ perspectives instead of focusing on himself has also helped him become more considerate and understanding of others.
Yvonne also helped her son become a more independent person. After studying in Pathlight for one year, he went on to study in mainstream schools. He progressed from primary school to secondary school and eventually entered the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). While Yvonne had him take a bus to school on his own to build confidence, she rode alongside on a bicycle to ensure he made it to school safely and also gathered updates on his progress from his classmates. Her son is now able to take any form of public transport on his own.
Yvonne wants to remind other caregivers and parents that no matter how different our individual journeys are, smiling and keeping a positive mindset will help in overcoming any obstacles that they may face. “If you need help, just ask for help,” she says, “You are not alone.”
Yvonne’s story first appeared at the ULTRAordinary SHEROES event organised by The HEART Enterprise and DISTRii Singapore on 8 March 2019.