At first glance, Sim Jia Wei looks no different from other boys his age. On closer scrutiny however, he suffers from global developmental delay and autism.

Jia Wei was first taken care of by his mother. After his parents’ divorce in 2005, his mother returned to Malaysia. There had been no contact with his mother after that.

In 2005, Jia Wei was enrolled in the Towner Gardens School, one of the schools of the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore. His teacher described him as having a good level of understanding. He responds through gesturing though he could be aggressive at times.

His father passed away in 2009 due to lung cancer. Since then, Jia Wei’s paternal grandparents, Mdm Tan Yah Ho, 75, and her husband, Mr Sim Tiang Huat, 80, took on the parenting role in caring for Jia Wei.

Unfortunately, after an accidental medication overdose prescribed for behavioural management in 2012, Jia Wei suffered significant functional decline and could not continue with schooling.

In 2012, KK Hospital recommended that Jia Wei can be placed at the Red Cross Home for the Disabled (RCHD) for better care and support. Mdm Tan and her husband subsequently enrolled Jia Wei at RCHD on 17 May 2012 when he was 12 years old.

Over the past three years, Jia Wei has been cared for by the team of dedicated nursing professionals, therapy and healthcare aides, physiotherapists as well as occupational and speech therapists. At RCHD, Jia Wei, engages in activities designed to enhance his physical, creative and social well-being, just like the other residents of our Home.

Today, 15 year old Jia Wei is a cheerful, responsive and occasionally mischievous boy who receives regular visits from his grandparents. Mr Sim takes 1.5 hours to get to RCHD from his home at Bedok. Yet despite his age, he visits Jia Wei at the Red Cross Home for the Disabled almost daily. Mdm Tan visits Jia Wei once a week. Such is their unconditional love for their grandson, Jia Wei.

Mdm Tan is very contented with the quality care provided for Jia Wei at RCHD. “The staff at RCHD takes very good care of him. It is also very clean and hygienic. Though some people asked if we wanted to transfer him to a home, we decided against it because we are very happy with the way Jia Wei is cared for at RCHD,” said Mdm Tan.

Story by Sondra Foo and Jessica Ong
Photo by Quek Seow Boon