SHEROES Bios: Candy Chia

Candy Chia

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.

The realisation that one can make a difference can really inspire a person to make a total career change. While working in the business sector, Candy took up volunteer tutoring work through her church. She tutored a youth with a disability and decided to pursue a diploma in Special Education upon seeing that his grades had improved.

She now teaches at St. Andrew’s Autism School where her work involves imparting life skills to those under her charge, mainly students who have moderate to severe disabilities. She also works closely with their parents and siblings to support the former and assist the latter group in managing and navigating the dynamics of being in an inter-abled family.

In addition, Candy heads the Play department in the school in which children with severe autism can learn and acquire skills in a fun way unhindered by the formalities that come with a ‘normal’ classroom setting. Acknowledging that it is a challenge for these individuals to find employment, Candy wants to provide those with high abilities to participate in leisure activities. This develops their awareness of what to do and say in company, thus increasing their chances of getting work and maintaining a group of friends.

Candy attributes her motivation to three key factors which keep her going and striving to do more. One factor is seeing the improvements in the her students, from when they first come in to the point that they are independent and are able to find fulfilling work. Secondly, she values the meaningful connections that she builds with her students, especially when she sees their joy. The third factor is the joy experienced by her own children when they have the opportunity to participate in creating joy for her students, be it a simple day out to the zoo or when her kids realise the positive outcomes of their inclusive efforts.

Candy’s story first appeared at the ULTRAordinary SHEROES event organised by The HEART Enterprise and DISTRii Singapore on 8 March 2019.