Hiang Lee – 22 years of service
Hiang Lee is one of the longest serving staff in SUN-DAC. Her patience and dedication towards SUN-DAC and people with special needs is truly remarkable and deserve recognition. She shares with us more on her journey with SUN-DAC.
How long have you been working with SUN-DAC?
Waaah! How long has it been? Hmm I first joined SUN-DAC in 1998 and was posted to the centre in Chai Chee (now relocated to Bedok South). Then I took a break for 2 and half years in 2002 to settle a personal issue before coming back in 2004 and has been with SUN-DAC Choa Chua Kang ever since. So in total about 28 years.
What made you come back?
The sense of belonging and I also feel that it is my responsibility to help people with special needs. Curiosity did play a part too. I was curious to know how I can help those who are unable to express themselves through speech. I wanted to know more on the different characteristic of person with specials needs and the different approach that we can use to tackle their behaviour.
What do you enjoy most working as a training officer in SUN-DAC?
*laughing* That’s easy! It is when clients laugh, smile and look like they are having a lot of fun during their time in the centre. Clients surprise me every day. Be it with their behaviour or their strength. Sometimes when I thought that they are not able to do it and should give them a bit off leeway, they surprise me with their incredible perseverance and show me that despite their disability, they can still do it even though it’s not perfect.
What was the most challenging but satisfying during your years of service?
Oh! there are a lot of episodes since I have been here for quite some time but I think there is 1 event that I can remember so well.
During my first few years in SUN-DAC, there was a client that was assigned to me and he couldn’t understand the concept of using utensil to eat. He was using both his hands at the same time to pick up his food to eat lunch and would make a huge mess. Due to this behaviour, his family couldn’t bring him out to eat. In addition, he had no sense of safety and likes to wonder around whenever we go out for gardening.
After spending close to 1 year of training which includes him throwing numerous tantrums, he was finally able to eat using a spoon. I can still remember clearly how I felt when I saw him picking up a spoon and eat during his lunch time. I felt so proud and satisfied. I was so excited to let his caregivers know on his accomplishment and that they can finally have a family meal in public. He was also able to understand the danger of road and will stick close to his group whenever we are out for gardening.
Lastly, do you have any advice anyone who wants to work with person with special needs?
Patience Persevere and don’t be scared. Clients wants a sense of security as the outside world is scary for them. Be brave for them and you will be fine.