WHO ARE THEY?
MINDS (The Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore) is a Non-Governmental Organisation in Singapore. They work with intellectually disabled or mentally ill members of society, through providing them with education, home-based care services, training and development, caregiving, and more; overall supporting every aspect of their lives where required in order to give them the help they need to reach a great quality of life and be a part of society.
WHAT DO WE DO?
There are 8 training and development centres, working with individuals 19 and above whom require more specialised support, such as in basic day-to-day skills including toilet needs and eating. Therefore, they stay at these centres during the day to receive support and help them better develop their skills and relationships.
Our service focuses on one of these 8 centres, located in Ang Mo Kio. We take a bus after school Thursdays to the centre and work hand in hand with the members staying there – engaging in fun activities to entertain them as well as support the growth of their skills and promote societal integration. Our main focus in drumming, as it works on their motor skills as well as their ability to recognise tunes, patterns, and then respond accordingly – and drumming even the basic patterns we show them actually requires a lot of concentration, skill and is very difficult. However, we also try keep it interesting and plan a range of activities such as arts and crafts, ball games, etc.
This year we aim to focus more on one-on-one partnerships with the members of MINDS, so a student to an individual. We feel that this will promote bonding and trust, which will build a strong relationship between the two which will make us look forward to seeing our friend more and make them feel safer and more comfortable with us, creating a deeper connection and more meaningful experience. I’m really excited for this because I feel with service you often work with groups and never form true connections, but this way I’ll get to really focus on one person and getting to know who they are, what they enjoy, and overall having fun interacting with them! 🙂
WHAT DO I DO?
Each student has to run a few of the sessions, which means organisation and time management to plan an activity, get the required materials for it and then run it on the day. So far I’m signed up to run 3 weeks, and each with a partner.
The activities I ran:
- DRUMMING AND COLOURING!
Also, Vidhushi and I are the communication officers, meaning we will be running the blog for the service, be doing reflections, updates, and in the end creating a video to show the next group of grade 11s what the service is and what we do in it, as well as to capture our year and work!
In MINDS today, we spent half of our time drumming and the other half drawing and colouring, as shown below!
I think that our session today is important to comment and reflect-on on because it offered a lot of challenge – and was definitely a turning point for me in better understanding these individuals. As we moved away from drumming and towards colouring, it created a lot of frustration for me and my group members in realising the difficulty that existed in collaborating with them and following through with the activity – as communication was much more difficult than we realised; however, what was important was our ability to notice this and adapt, by using single word instructions and a lot of visual hand gestures and actions.
Also, I don’t think any of us perceived how hard it would be for the clients to colour as we possibly overestimated their mechanical skills, and ability to coordinate between hands and eyes.
However, I think coming to this realisation was good since it’s still the start of the year – and therefore, we can better prepare our activities for the future so that they can have the most enjoyment.
Also, throughout the session we all had to be very open-minded and flexible. For example, with some of the clients I worked with – I had to draw simpler outlines for them to colour in, and often they couldn’t use those so I had to come up with smaller activities with them like asking them to draw spirals or use different colours!
November 15th, 2018: REFLECTION
Today,I was responsible for running the session along with Vidhushi and Caitlin. Since 2 sessions ago we realized how much the clients loved colouring – we decided to print out a lot of simple outlines (such as a flower, a sun, etc). For the first half of the session we played the drums, and for the second half – we coloured and drew.
LO 2 Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process
Preparing for this was quite difficult because there were many things we wanted to do such as origami and passing a ball – but even those tasks werealised would be too difficult. It meant we had to be very aware of the clients we were working with and had to be flexible and open-minded to plan something they would enjoy, something they could learn from and also something that would challenge them but not be too difficult or necessarily require instructions as it’s difficult for them to understand more than single-word instructions. I think that colouring didn’t need an explanation, we knew they enjoyed it and it worked their motor skills. This also required some organisation because we had to get together before – also showing commitment, as to plan and print everything out beforehand, and I organised to have colouring pencils, as well as bring all the drums (and we needed at least 5 because last week I realised we didn’t have enough…)
LO 5 Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively
Furthermore, two very important skills I feel I’ve been able to grow is both collaboration and communication. As the abilities of the people we spend time with are very different to our own, we have to be very self-aware and open-minded in order to communicate with them in ways that they can comprehend, and sometimes it’s really hard for me to understand what someone is trying to say with me. Something I’ve greatly learned is the importance of hand signals, and that there’s so much you can say using your hands and that it’s understandable with everyone. It means during the sessions, I have to be very conscious of what I want to say in order to know how I can best say it, and that it’s always best to say everything with a smile.
Finally, we’ve been going enough times now that I know some of the people there quite well and they always look very excited to see us. For example, I know __ reaaallly loves highfives and she’s loud and laughs a lot, Benji LOVES drumming and has really good motor skills, __ loves to dance and stands in the centre of the drums to bust out moves, etc… It makes it really fun to see them and get to know them better, and that they feel comfortable with us too!
(Photo above is my favourite ahhaha I’m third wheeling so much)
REFLECTING ON THE LEARNING OUTCOMES
20th November, 2018.