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CaringSG’s First Ever Purple Parade!

CaringSG’s First Ever Purple Parade!

This year’s Purple Parade was held on 29 October 2022 at Suntec City to support inclusion and celebrate the abilities of persons with disabilities. 2022 marks the 10th anniversary for the Purple Parade, and the first time that CaringSG has participated in this event!

In the lead up to the Purple Parade, CaringSG held an online slogan quest for our members with two categories:

  • Category 1: non-caregiver members can create their own short slogans to encourage caregivers
  • Category 2: caregiver members can share their self-declared phrase that has always inspired them to remain motivated despite their challenges.

The contest ran until 30 November 2022. Scroll to the bottom of this article to see the winning slogans!

On the actual day of the Purple Parade, CaringSG members who dropped by the CaringSG booth and flashed their eCard were able to redeem limited edition free gifts (tote bag for caregiver members and a CaringSG badge for non-caregiver members). 

Members as well as the public could also purchase specially made handicrafts to support the caregivers and youths of CAREcottage families (see their beautiful handicrafts here).

The highlight of the Purple Parade was the marching of contingents where participants marched together to show solidarity for persons with disabilities. CaringSG, together with Centre for Fathering, formed a strong marching contingent of 88 participants. Everyone was really happy and proud to be part of this meaningful event.

The Purple Parade was supported by five CAREkakis, nine CaringSG staff and twenty-two volunteers. A loud shoutout and thank you to our partners (Enabling Lives Initiative Grant by SG Enable and Tote Board, and Temasek Foundation) who made this meaningful event possible. 

Congratulations to the following winners of our slogan quest!

We are greatly inspired by each and every one of your slogans and would like to announce the winners below:

  • CaringSG Online Slogan Quest Winner (Category 1): “All trials have an expiry date!” by Ms Tay 
  • CaringSG Online Slogan Quest Winner (Category 2): You make a world of difference!” by Low Li Ting

We also hope these notable slogan submissions will bring warmth to your day:

  • “Together, We Can!” by Amir Yunus
  • “Laugh more, open your heart, and take each day as it comes” by Ernest
  • “Don’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the further you get.” by Lim Sook Wei
  • “There is always light at every tunnel ahead.” by Ng Tiong Hui
  • “Appreciate progress, no matter how small!!” by Poornima Rajaram
  • “Care and Compassion in Community makes us stronger” by Timothy Wong
  • “Mom is the best teacher for your own son! Love yourself, family first before you can love others” by Vivien Tanaka
  • “Open our heart to listen, to act.” by Wong KK
  • “Be brave, be persistent, be fun. Never give up! Yes, you can!” by Yuria Tantono

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Family Bonding – Discover With Me @ Singapore Discovery Centre (11 June 2022)

Family Bonding - Discover With Me @ Singapore Discovery Centre (11 June 2022)

CaringSG and Centre for Fathering organised a family bonding event for 45 participants from 12 special needs families at the Singapore Discovery Centre.

Families enjoyed activities such as Amazing Race, Black Laser Battlefield, Free & Easy Pedal Boat Ride, and XD Ride. There was also a talk on fathers’ roles in special needs caregiving by Centre of Fathering.

This event was supported by two CAREkakis, one CAREchampion, and 12 CAREambassadors (three William Blair CSR volunteers, 3 student volunteers and 5 youth volunteers), together with four CaringSG staff and volunteers.

Special thanks to our supporters Centre For Fathering, the Enabling Lives Initiative Grant by SG Enable and Tote Board, Temasek Foundation, and Boon Lay CCC!

More photos of the event can be viewed at our Facebook page

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From One Special Dad To Another

From One Special Dad To Another

I’m a special dad. For 14 years, I’ve walked through the journey you’re experiencing now. 

The thing is that no one really tells you what to do, and old school men like me don’t really ask because we feel we have the responsibility of being the provider of the family come what may. 

You may be starting to accept your child’s diagnosis, or searching for elusive answers with Google. But nothing can help you as much as being with other special dads, knowing you’re not the only one trying to make sense of the turbulence ahead. 

As one special dad to another, this is what I think you should prepare for. 

1. Planning Finances 

Having a special needs child can mean redesigning our whole life for therapy schedules, doctor visits, tests and other related appointments. 

Besides the financial strain due to these extra costs, some special dads (or our wives) have to give up career progression or quit altogether to accompany our child to appointments. 

Suddenly we have a double whammy — higher expenses and lower household income. 

In my earlier years, I had held fast to some simple accounting principles of ensuring I invested and diversified the money I earned. I left the purchase of cars, clothing and holidays to a later date because I had an extended family that impressed upon me on what I needed to do when I grew up.        

Today we have the internet, financial consultants, and even government portals such as MoneySense to advise the best for our needs at different stages of our lives. I would encourage you to reach out and use these avenues so that we can educate ourselves enough to be able to help our families. 

2. Managing wife’s expectations

There will be days where your relationship with your wife may become strained due to the stress of caring for your special needs child. 

Not everything has to be an equal game. Everyone has strengths at different points of time. 

Look at things objectively. If your wife is in a better position to put bread on the table, could you step up and be a hands-on father to your special needs child? This is what I decided to do five years ago when my son grew bigger and needed a more present father.

Our marriage is still a “work in progress”. We deal with challenges and each other’s sensitivities the best we can. There are so many permutations to getting it to work and there is no “best” or “logical process” to make it work. Every day presents new challenges and opportunities. 

I’ve learned that no matter how angry, sad, disappointed or let down I feel, I don’t need to take it to heart, and I try my best to be empathic. Even this may not work all the time, so I then take it as life’s journey. We can still choose to see how we can make things work better and learn from the experience. 

This makes for a happier “me”, and a happier “me” can then back down, smile and not let the situation escalate further unnecessarily.

3. Do I have to solve everything?

We men have an innate habit of going into problem-solving mode. But special needs isn’t something you can cure away. 

That said, there are some things that you can solve, such as planning ahead, creating a safe space for your family to walk this journey together, and spending time on self-care for yourself.

For everything else that is out of your hands, learn how to adjust and outsource to experts. For example, Centre For Fathering runs programmes for fathers on parenting and adventure camps to promote bonding with your child.

4. Be prepared to start from ground zero

As we learn from scratch how to become a father when our first child is born, we also start from ground zero when we first realise we are special needs dads.

Centre For Fathering has a growing community of special needs dads who have walked in your shoes and know what it’s like. 

Find your tribe and take it step by step.

Anand 3

5. Making the best of what we have

When life throws us lemons, make lemonade. 

Being a special dad ironically came with blessing to me. I discovered I have so many untapped skills as a father and that our special child brings out in us. 

In my years of being a father, I feel I was accorded the privilege of being a father to a special needs child simply because my son has made me a more resilient, patient, emotionally connected father. This is something I wasn’t always (and to a large degree) felt capable of doing.

Anand 4

About Anand Lal and the Centre For Fathering’s Special Dads Group:

Anand Lal is a special dad to a fourteen-year old son with intellectual disabilities and apraxia. He quit his full-time job five years ago to spend more time with his son, such as taking him on adventure trips and indulging in swimming, his favourite activity. Anand has also upgraded his skills to become an Inclusive and Neuro Diverse Water Safety and Swimming Coach, and actively volunteers at the Centre For Fathering’s Special Dads Group.

Anand is also a CaringSG CAREconnect champion and is the Head of CAREbuddy.

All photos courtesy of Anand Lal.

To be updated on CaringSG’s latest events and join your preferred caregiver support groups in our CaringSG Alliance Network (CAN), sign up as a CaringSG member and let us know your preference!

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