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Be the Writer of the Lives We Choose to Live By – By Diana Lim

be the writer of the lives we choose to live by - By Diana Lim

Diana is working at CaringSG as a volunteer management and events support executive. She has 2 lively boys who are currently studying at Pathlight School.

“Only we ourselves, can be the writer of the lives we choose to live by. As a special needs caregiver, I choose to embrace it with an open mind and a willing heart.”

When my elder son was born, the entire family was practically on cloud nine as he was the golden grandson, the precious one. Any hint of suspicion that this precious boy might be facing any developmental delays or falling out of “range” was brushed aside. However, as the issues persisted, the instinct to quickly start speech therapy, occupational therapy and customized educational program took over. Imagine doing all this while holding a big tummy with number 2 in tow…

I would never have imagined that I would be blessed with not one, but two special needs children!

For many of us who often questioned why our child is so different from other special needs kids, take it from me when I say that autism is indeed a broad spectrum. With the same home and school environment, same parenting style, the two brothers were polar opposites when it came to their tolerance level to schedule changes, learning preferences, cognitive abilities, and many others.

I’ve since then learned to unlearn the so-called correct ways of handling autistic challenges. To put down my expectations as a mother so deeply invested in their well-being. To let them be themselves so they can gradually carve their unique identity as special individuals in spite of their neurological impediments.  To have a willing heart, and an open mind.

These are some pointers that I can share as a caregiver, someone who has been blessed with good spousal and family support, practical and emotional resource pool, as well as a great network of people who simply understands.

  • Always look for the simple things to be thankful for despite how the day or ‘night’ has turned out to be.
  • Learn from others to see if their strategies are applicable to our children/dependents at their current stage. At other times, be ready to let go of things which do not fit into their psyche.
  • Find several support groups that can serve various needs – it can be like-minded friends, parents support groups, playdate groups, hangout groups, etc. And just like friendships, they may come and go as our seasons of life change. It’s okay; be open to forming new ones.
  • It’s okay to not be okay. It’s absolutely normal to feel vulnerable. By being able to rough out bad times and reach out to lifeline help available to us, we are in turn building our own emotional resilience. Imagine what a good real-life experience it would be when we share how we coped and learned from our past experiences with our special needs loved ones!

As special needs caregivers, conquering the day is not always about this amazing feat or that significant improvement. It is more often than not, being able to achieve some form of peace in the never-ending daily noise and action.

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CaringSG Volunteer Appreciation Day 2023

CaringSG Volunteer Appreciation Day 2023

CaringSG held our first Volunteer Appreciation Day on 27 May 2023, Saturday, at the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre.

We welcomed 50 volunteers across various CaringSG Project 3i programmes to meet up and mingle with one another over lunch and games. 

After the Opening Address by Board Co-Chair Dr David Ang, volunteers enjoyed mini games which tested how well they knew each other, with lots of laughter and fun, and smiles all around.

Some volunteers and CaringSG staff who have not had the chance to meet in person, could finally meet face to face and bond over food and games. Others caught up with fellow volunteers they had not seen face to face for a long while and had a good long chat.

To show our gratitude for our volunteers’ contributions, we prepared appreciation videos showcasing their efforts and impact on caregivers and the community.

CaringSG Board Chair Dr Lim Hong Huay also gave a speech to thank volunteers, and she presented certificates and tokens of appreciation to our various groups of volunteers at CaringSG’s Volunteer Award & Appreciation Ceremony. 

We are immensely grateful to have the support of all our volunteers, and deeply cherish our time with you in our collective efforts to support special needs caregivers and their families.

Scroll down to see photos of our Volunteer Appreciation Day!

We welcome volunteers to sign up with us at


Opening Address by CaringSG Board Co-Chair Dr David Ang
Volunteer games underway with lots of laughter and smiles
Volunteer Appreciation Speech by CaringSG Board Co-Chair Dr Lim Hong Huay
CAREambassadors: volunteers at CaringSG events
CAREkakis: trained grassroot leaders
CAREchampions: caregiver volunteers at CAREconnect events
CAREwell: professional volunteers
CAREbuddy: trained caregivers who provide other caregivers with support and listening ear
icare! gala dinner volunteer

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Building Relationships, Supporting Caregivers – By CAREwell volunteer Loy Sheau Mei

Building Relationships, Supporting Caregivers – By CAREwell volunteer Loy Sheau Mei

I’m Loy Sheau Mei, a CAREwell volunteer. Before I joined CAREwell, I’ve already been working with the autism community for the past 18 years.

Some time ago, when I was doing a home visit with my colleagues to support a family with 2 kids who were visually impaired and diagnosed with autism, I learnt more about CAREwell and CaringSG.

I also found out more about the CAREwell’s volunteering opportunities via social media and decided to join.

What is volunteering with CAREwell like?

When I started volunteering with CAREwell, I liked how CaringSG has a structure in place with clarity of the end-in-mind for the families they serve.

The CAREwell team uses a multi-disciplinary approach as we need to have inputs from different perspectives to support each family holistically.

Collaboration with family is one key aspect, and the CAREwell team starts small to gain trust from the family. We also have a commitment to be present to work with the family within a specific timeframe. This creates stability in our relationships with the caregivers, and caregivers will be more open and willing to follow up.

With the relationship built and little successes along the way, I have witnessed that the caregivers are more relaxed as they start to realise that there’re others like us who will walk the journey with them.


How can society be more understanding towards special needs caregivers?

I believe that the awareness is there, but on how to progress forward to be an inclusive society, much effort will be needed.

There are many myths about special needs and there is a need to present the facts about different special needs as there are so many differently-abled individuals among us. The misconception of special needs, and how to interact with them, at times leads to misunderstandings.

Post-school options are limited, and many caregivers are worried as to what’s next for their dependents. “Finding the what’s next” requires all stakeholders, including caregivers and respective agencies, to co-create this space.

Lastly, I would like to share this encouragement to all special needs caregivers:

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CaringSG Forum on Social Support and Residential Needs

CaringSG Forum on Social Support and Residential Needs

CaringSG held a physical form on social support and residential needs on 20 Aug 2022 at Boon Lay Community Club. Twelve special needs families with three children attended the event.

Caregivers learnt about various forms of social support from Ms Chloe Huang (Deputy Director, Service Coordination and Advice, SG Enable).

Childminding activities were also provided for children who attended. The event was organised by three CAREkakis, two CAREambassadors, and four CaringSG staff and volunteers.

This event was also supported by the Enabling Lives Initiative Grant by SG Enable and Tote Board.

Visit our FB post to see more photos of the event.

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Your Labour of Love and Giving in Support of Caregivers – from our Board Member, Dr El’fred Boo

Your Labour of Love and Giving in Support of Caregivers – from our Board Member, Dr El’fred Boo

More attention and support have been provided to caregivers with many new initiatives, including those provided by CaringSG. 

I personally vouch for the significant contributions by Hong Huay and David, Chair and Co-Chair of CaringSG respectively, as well as their team, for tirelessly laying the foundation and connecting key stakeholders to pave the way for various programs, including CAREconnect, CAREwell and CAREbuddy. 

Apart from hardworking staff, volunteers, and partners, all these programs and activities are made possible only with the generous contributions from key donors and the public. 

We are also delighted with the recent news of social service agencies getting more help to strengthen capabilities and to scale up, which would benefit caregivers in the long term.

To all dedicated staff, volunteers, partners, and generous donors: your continuing service contribution and financial support make a world of difference to caregivers, and indirectly, those they care for. Kudos to your labour of love and giving, which are absolutely essential and very much appreciated!

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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Why I Chose to be a CAREbuddy – By Karen Kwa

Why I Chose to be a CAREbuddy – By Karen Kwa


Featured photo: Karen Kwa in pink with husband, and their three daughters

My name is Karen Kwa, I have 3 girls.

My elder girl was slow in learning, she caught up only in Primary 6 when she was transferred to EM3, when on to NT (Normal Tech), to ITE then to Polytechnic. She’s working already.

My second girl was diagnosed with dyslexia at Primary 6. As hers is mild, she managed to keep up with the help of the DAS (Dyslexia Association of Singapore) centre at Bishan. She went on to Express stream in Secondary, then to poly, and currently she’s working.

My youngest was the one that needed more attention. She was slow in catching up with her peers in kindergarten. She was under SPD for OT (occupational therapy) and speech. She was transferred to APSN Katong in 2008 and went on to DSS (Delta Senior School) and since then she has progressed well. She’s working at Uniqlo and plays the Guzheng with the Purple Symphony Orchestra.

Karen Kwa’s youngest daughter

Because of my youngest girl, I have seen how our family has supported her and how she has progressed. I wanted to help other parents who have special needs children, to support them.

When I saw on Facebook that CaringSG has this CAREbuddy program that can help parents that need support and help, I jumped into it. In the CAREbuddy training, we learn how to communicate and role play on how to connect and help the caregiver.

What I like most about this program that we learn how to give support and encouragement to caregivers who need the most help in emotional support and guidance.

As caregivers we have learnt to support our child in many different ways and they have progressed. Let’s come and support CaringSG to sign up for CAREbuddy training and support other caregivers who need our encouragement.


About CAREbuddy

CAREbuddy is one of CaringSG’s Project 3i programmes where trained special needs caregivers (CAREbuddies) provide emotional support to fellow special needs caregivers.

Karen Kwa graduated from our second batch of CAREbuddy trainees and is now a CAREbuddy intern.

Trainees go through a total of 24 hours of training, followed by 6 months of internship upon graduation. During internship, CAREbuddy interns begin to support fellow caregivers, and our trainers will mentor them as well.

Special needs caregivers who are interested to volunteer as a CAREbuddy can sign up for our information session (tentatively 6 June 2022, Mon, 8-9.30pm). Please join our FB page to receive more updates on how to sign up, and read more about CAREbuddy at 


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Volunteer Feature: Dr Ngiam Xin Ying, CAREconnect Webinar Lead

Volunteer Feature: Dr Ngiam Xin Ying, CAREconnect Webinar Lead


Many members who have attended CaringSG’s online webinars would find Dr Ngiam Xin Ying a familiar face as she is one of our emcees.

We hear more from Xin Ying about her volunteer journey with us and what she and the CAREconnect webinar team has in store for members in 2022!

Q: Please share more about yourself 😊

XY: I graduated from NUS’ faculty of medicine in 2005 and trained in paediatrics at National University Hospital (NUH). Currently, I work in a small paediatric practice in Ang Mo Kio, practicing both general and developmental paediatrics.

I am also mom to 3 kids – my 10-year-old son and 3-year-old twin daughters. My son was diagnosed with ADHD in Primary 2. He is a really bright and artistic young man but has his challenges; nevertheless, we are slowly making progress!

In my free time, I enjoy reading and drawing comics. I am also a volunteer with Tzu Chi Singapore (not terribly active at the moment), where I helped with doing preschool observations for children suspected to have developmental difficulties and also provided artwork for some of their promotional material.

Q: What do you do as a volunteer with CaringSG?

XY: I am the webinar lead for CaringSG. My team and I organize the monthly webinars for caregivers every 3rd Saturday night of each month.

We come up with a variety of topics which we think will interest caregivers of special needs children and persons with disabilities. We will then try to contact suitable speakers – both professionals in the relevant fields, as well as caregivers who are willing to share their personal journeys as pertains to the topic at hand. This is to promote an equal partnership between professionals and caregivers.

Our webinars have been well-received, and we can see that the participants are very engaged. In particular, when caregivers share their stories, we see an outpouring of support and encouragement in the Zoom chat. We know from this that the stories have touched their hearts.

Q: Why did you step up to volunteer with CaringSG?

XY: I joined because Dr Lim Hong Huay called me and I couldn’t say no! Haha… But to be honest, I thought it was a really meaningful initiative to have caregivers support one another, and for professionals and caregivers to work as partners in bringing about positive changes for the special needs community.

Q: What do you enjoy about your volunteer work?

XY: Getting to know more people among the volunteer pool, professionals in the relevant fields and other caregivers who are doing amazing work. It is beneficial both to my professional work and personal growth. I also am happy to meet fellow healthcare professionals who are also caregivers – it makes me feel less alone!

Q: What can members look forward to?

XY: 2022 will be our second year running the monthly webinars. We have come up with a few series of talks about topics like future care planning and relationships. So, do join us as members (it’s free!) and look out for the webinar series at

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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