SINGAPORE – Parenting a child with special needs requires a lot of patience, and many times, it also requires an extra effort in helping the child to learn and understand even the most mundane activities in life.
Teaching the child to be independent and learning to take the public transport by themselves is one instance. Parents with special needs child often follow their child to observe how they handle themselves on public transport. For Bob Lee, this was what he did on Friday (2 April), and it is a usual practice for him when observing his son on public transport.
“Disguising myself, I boarded the bus one stop before and waited for Jun Le to board (the stop after),” he wrote. “We agreed to board the bus 183 that will come in two minutes. However, bus 188 passed me, and then bus 41 past, but there was no bus 183.”
Puzzled that bus 183 had yet to arrived, Lee called his wife to ask if the bus was arriving. To his horror, his wife replied that their son, Jun Le, had boarded the bus. It was then that the couple realised their teen son, who has autism, had boarded bus 188, which had already passed them.
Chasing after the bus separately, Lee’s wife, who drove, managed to catch up with the bus first, “I am looking for my son; he has autism,” she told the bus captain.
“The boy who spoke to himself? He alighted at the polyclinic stop,” the bus captain had answered the frantic parent.
Lee boarded a taxi and made his way to the bus stop, only realising that his son was nowhere to be seen. As Lee realised his phone pinged a location near their house, he called his neighbours to help them keep a lookout near home.
After that, he started to call for his son loudly around the neighbourhood. It was then that a Malay father with a child approached Lee.
“Are you looking for your son? My wife brought him to the police station, don’t worry, my son also ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder); we will help you,” he told Lee.
A while later, the man’s wife led Jun Le over. She recalled that Jun Le asked, “where’s mommy? I am hungry. I want to go Jurong East MRT Station.”
“I am thankful that my son met a kind Samaritan,” Lee wrote.
In another Facebook post shared by Aidil Ismail, whose wife, Dhiya Liyana, had found Lee’s son, he shared that he was proud of his wife and that “she did everything she could to reunite this lovely autistic teen back to his parents when he had lost his way”.
Liyana commented on Lee’s post that the couple were “glad to help you.” She first noticed Jun Le looking around and asking for “mummy, mummy, where’s mummy,” and followed him after seeing his distress.
“He was so good at calming himself by asking me to count backwards with him! Brave boy,” she wrote. “He held my hand all of the time and played with my hair; I tried my best to reassure him everything is ok!”
Ismail recalled in his post that he was holding back his tears when the couple were reunited with their son. He added that the two families became friends and that he has a “lovely boy with special needs too.”
Lee had also commented on Ismail’s post, thanking both him and his wife for their help.
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