When I took my first step into the disability sector, my reason and motivation came from an online article where a group of special educators were making degrading remarks about their students. Many others thought that my reason was the same like many others who have ventured out to do something – for my brother who has William Syndrome.
Six years on, I realized that it was not my brother nor that article that ignited my spark. It was my parents. They showed me how to love and care for my brother. And because a child’s first teacher is their parents, I learnt to love and care for my brother too.
I also learnt that I love my brother for many other reasons: his laughter when he’s happy, his off-key singing or humming to songs that I can never find on Spotify, his care and concern for others. So many reasons as to why I love my brother for who he is. But the underlying basis is I love and care for him because my parents showed me how to, and because they do.
Their gentle hands and patience that nurtured my brother set the benchmark and taught me the style and method I use today to guide those with special needs.
Their placing my brother before your own needs leads me to place those with special needs before myself as well.
Their never ending faith in the potential of my brother and the constant looking out for opportunities he could partake in defines the parameters of my faith and belief of every individual with special needs that I have cross paths with, and those I have not.
They truly bring out the best in me.
And just like how they continue to lead by example, I will, too, love and care for those with special needs with the same patience, nurturing and determined spirit and not allow society to define their potential and clip their wings. Because there is so much more to them than their condition, just like how they showed me with my brother.