Steps to do an online donation of groceries through NTUC Fairprice.
Singapore signed the United Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) on 30 Nov 2012.
NCSS launched an UNCRPD publicity campaign titled “We are ABLE! Enhancing Possibilities, Celebrating Abilities” on 22 Mar 2013. This campaign aims to increase awareness of the UNCRPD and the abilities of persons with disabilities among Singaporeans.
Find out more about the UNCRPD here.
You are strongly encouraged to pledge your action for Persons with Disabilities here.
Our new chinese electronic newsletter is up! Catch it here.
How many times do you get a corn or a bunion? Is this number directly related to the number of times you wear your adorable but ridiculously uncomfortable stiletto heels? Do you know what makes your feet tick? We are going to tell you all about foot health.
Bunions occur at the base of the large toe, often distorting the look of the foot. The bunion pushes the big toe toward the other toes on the foot and causes pain. Corns also develop on the feet, and consist of hard layers of skin that form a cone shape, with inflamed skin surrounding the layers. Corns may cause discomfort when pressed and tend to develop in areas of the foot that do not bear weight.
Pretty Shoes and Their Rough Edges
The bottom line is; avoid shoes that are too tight or ill-fitting if you want to stay away from any foot problems. Tight shoes may cause bunions and corns. Shoes that are too narrow cause friction and compress the bones of the foot, causing corns. Distorting the position of the large toe causes the deformity of the joint where the big toe joins the foot. Most high heeled shoes are risk factors of developing unsightly corns and bunions. For the sake of foot health, heels should be no higher than one inch.
If you already have a bunion, wearing shoes with ample toe space helps decrease the pain caused by it. A callous over the bunion will be formed in prolonged use of ill-fitting shoes due to additional friction between the bunion and shoe.
Wear Socks with Shoes
This may seem like an obvious fact, but often goes unpractised; always pad your feet with socks before wearing shoes. Wearing shoes without socks put your feet at high risk of developing corns. The socks function as a go-between, absorbing friction between the foot and shoe. Without the cushion of the sock, the shoe may rub the toes to cause a corn. Also bear in mind that you should throw out socks that are too loose or too tight as they lose their effectiveness if they are ill-fitting.
Unfortunately, heredity sometimes plays a part in this. The structure of one’s feet can affect one’s likelihood of developing bunions. Hence, some feet are just naturally more prone to developing bunions simply due to heredity. However, one can avoid wearing uncomfortable shoes and make the necessary preventive measures such as wearing socks to stay away from annoying bunions.
Individuals with specific occupations have an increased risk of developing bunions because of stress placed on the feet. People in occupations such as teaching and nursing, which involve a lot of standing and walking, are susceptible to bunions. Ballet dancers, whose dance routines often put their feet in severe repetitive stress, too often suffer from developing bunions. Additionally, if pregnancy is an occupation, full-time mothers also suffer from bunions and other foot problems during pregnancy as hormonal changes loosen the ligaments and flatten the feet.
By the time you read this article, you may already have developed bunions; hence you will need to do damage control before your condition worsens. A moleskin or gel-filled pad may do the trick and they are easily available at drugstores. But please do make sure that your shoes have enough space to accommodate it. Alternatively, when the bunion is irritated and painful, warm soaks and ice packs can help relief discomfort. For more severe pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen may help. Should all else fail, you should see a physician before it gets worse.
Credits: Livestrong.com, Harvard Health Publications
Metta’s earliest participation in the lunar 7th month charity auctions traced back to 1997. For every auction dinner or ‘getai’ the organisation attended, our representatives have to sit through the event to ensure the process of auctioning the item runs smoothly. Very frequently, the representatives from Metta have to facilitate the auctioning arrangements with the auctioneers and organisers, requiring them to think on their feet and react to unforeseen circumstances. In its early years, Metta’s President, Venerable Shi Fa Zhao, had taken upon himself to participate in the various charity auctions.
Today, Metta continues to inject a concerted effort to upkeep the participation in the lunar 7th month charity auctions in reaching out to a unique community who are regulars to these events. Participation in these auctions has in turn supported a large part of Metta’s fund-raising efforts.
Overwhelmed by nostalgia following our 20th anniversary celebrations, we uncovered some of the past auction items! As we aim to please, we are putting up the items on sale! If you are as much of a softie as we are, you may be interested to purchase these auctions items that are dated back to 1999. Contact Ms Jolyene Kor at 6580 4616 for sales enquiries.
By Travis Loh Kok Wah, Senior Medical Social Worker
Coping with cancer can be challenging for many cancer patients. There may be many struggles and concerns that a cancer patient faces in his/her cancer journey. One of these concerns can be the impact of the illness on self-image and self-esteem.
Self or body image refers to how one perceives his/her own appearance, even though it may not be the way other people see him/her. Looking good is important and how one looks can affect how one feels about him/herself. Therefore, the overall physical appearance can be said to influence self-esteem.
SO, WHAT IS SELF-ESTEEM?
According to psychologist Dr Wendy Schain (n.d.), she describes self-esteem as being made up of four components:
1. NET WORTH OF PHYSICAL SELF – the appearance and functional ability of your physical body.
2. SOCIAL SELF – your relationships and the emotional support that you can receive from others.
3. TOTAL SUM OF ACHIEVING SELF – the achievements that you have accomplished in different areas of your life.
4. SPIRITUAL SELF – the strength that you draw from your spiritual and moral beliefs.
Cancer treatment takes time and can be costly. It may adversely impact your physical functioning, relationships with others, your work, studies and even your spiritual faith.
Physical changes caused by cancer and its treatment are unique to each patient/survivor. They can prevent you from studying, working or doing the things that you used to enjoy prior to cancer. Such changes include:
• Temporary side effects of treatment such as hair loss, skin/nail changes, weight loss, numbness in limbs etc. Permanent physical changes include permanent stoma and amputation.
• Scars and disfigurement caused by surgeries.
• Other body losses such as incontinence, loss of femininity or masculinity, and loss of eyesight and hearing.
Physical changes due to cancer or treatment can be very distressing as they can reduce one’s self confidence. This may cause a significant impact on the self-esteem and eventually the strength and will to overcome the challenges of cancer and its treatment.
Even if the physical changes are hidden and not noticeable by others, it can also have an impact on the self. Body image is about how one feels about his/her body and not how it actually looks to others. Hence, even if there are no physical changes, one may still feel as though he/she is being seen differently and that he/she is unable to relate to others. The feelings of uncertainty and insecurity may then affect one’s body image.
With poor body image and low self-esteem, it can impact one’s intimacy with his/her partner. For example, women who have undergone a mastectomy may find it difficult to be intimate with her partner due to mental, physical and emotional barriers. She may feel ashamed, self-conscious and anxious about her body. Intimacy is not just about sex; it is also about the physical (touching, holding and hugging), mental (ability to care for the other person) and emotional (sharing of feelings such as fears and hopes) connection that one shares with his/her partner. The ability to connect and feel supported can have an impact on a patient’s quality of life.
The following are some possible signs of a poor body image and low self-esteem affecting a patient’s quality of life:
• Not wanting to leave the house because of the fear of people seeing him/her
• Avoiding intimacy or sex with his/her partner
• Feeling ashamed for having cancer
• Not being able to accept him/herself after the cancer diagnosis
Some coping strategies that patients can adopt to build a more positive body image and self-esteem:
1. Regaining confidence in your appearance
• Wear clothes that you like and which can make you feel good about yourself
• Camouflage the body changes by using make-up, wigs, prostheses or clothing
• Enroll in the “Look Good Feel Better” programme
2. Broadening of perspective. If you focus only on your physical appearance and losses, you may overlook the other strengths, interests and talents in your life. For instance, a cancer patient may pick up a new hobby such as painting as a way of expressing what he/she is experiencing and feeling. Also, while it may be physically challenging for a patient to engage in strenuous exercises, he/she may still enjoy light exercises such as morning walks. The focus is now shifted to building up on what you enjoy and can do.
3. Allowing yourself the space and time to get used to the physical changes and how you feel about yourself. Go slow and do things at a comfortable pace. Over time, your body image will improve as you adjust mentally and emotionally to life after cancer.
4. Sharing of any sexual concerns that you may have with your partner. Taking the first step to talk about intimacy issues may be difficult. However, it is also likely that your partner is as concerned as you are over these issues. Open communication helps to build the couple’s relationship and in turn, enhance the emotional support between each other.
5. Building up your support network by talking to other patients and survivors who share similar struggles with body image and self-esteem. Join a support group where you can share your experiences, learn new coping methods and talk about your feelings in a safe environment.
6. Strengthening your spiritual life. Spirituality may or may not be tied to a particular religion. According to Sherfield (n.d.), spirituality is about the inward exploration of the self to gain inner peace and understanding. It involves the appreciation of self, the environment and the role one plays in the “big picture of life”. A strong sense of spirituality may bring about a greater sense of inner peace, purpose and belonging which will ultimately strengthen one’s self-esteem.
7. Seeking professional counselling for yourself and your loved ones. You may wish to speak to a medical social worker in the hospital.
At the end of the day, when cancer patients are able to better manage and deal with body image and self-esteem concerns, they gain greater confidence and are empowered to be in control of their lives.
This article is republished from Salubris, quarterly publication of National Cancer Centre Singapore, October-December 2012 issue.
“It’s impossible to teach her how to spell!”
“Her handwriting is so messy, all her teachers complain about it!”
“He’s already 10, when will he learn to write neatly?”
“He must be just plain lazy.”
“She’s just not trying hard enough.”
Do these words of complain sound familiar? Have you considered that your child may not be writing badly deliberately? He or she may have dysgraphia.
Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing, which requires a complex set of motor and information processing skills. Dysgraphia makes the act of writing difficult. It can lead to problems with spelling, poor handwriting, and putting thoughts on paper. People with dysgraphia can have trouble organising letters, numbers, and words on a line or page. This can result partly from:
- Visual-spatial difficulties: trouble processing what the eye sees
- Language processing difficulty: trouble processing and making sense of what the ear hears
As with all learning disabilities, dysgraphia is a lifelong challenge, although how it manifests may change over time.
Just having bad handwriting does not mean a person has dysgraphia. Since dysgraphia is a processing disorder, difficulties can change throughout a lifetime. The following signs can be observed in persons with dysgraphia in different stages of their development.
In Early Writers
- Tight, awkward pencil grip and body position
- Avoiding writing or drawing tasks
- Trouble forming letter shapes
- Inconsistent spacing between letters or words
- Poor understanding of uppercase and lowercase letters
- Inability to write or draw in a line or within margins
- Gets tired quickly while writing
In Young Students
- Illegible handwriting
- Mixture of cursive and print writing
- Saying words out loud while writing
- Concentrating so hard on writing that comprehension of words is missed
- Trouble thinking of words to write
- Omitting or not finishing words in sentences
In Teenagers and Adults
- Trouble organising thoughts on paper
- Trouble keeping track of thoughts already written down
- Difficulty with syntax structure and grammar
- Large gap between written ideas and understanding demonstrated through speech
There are many ways to help a person with dysgraphia achieve success. The strategies fall into the following three key categories.
- Accommodation: providing alternatives to written expressions
- Modification: changing expectations or tasks to minimise or avoid the area of weakness
- Remediation: providing instructions for improving handwriting and writing skills
Each type of strategy should be considered when planning instruction and support. A person with dysgraphia will benefit from help from both specialists and those who are closest to the person. Finding the most beneficial type of support is a process of trying different ideas and openly exchanging thoughts on what works best.
Although teachers and employers are required by law to make “reasonable accommodations” for individuals with learning disabilities, they may not be aware of how to help. Speak to them about dysgraphia and explain the challenges faced as a result of this learning disability.
Here are examples of how to teach individuals with dysgraphia to overcome some of their difficulties with written expressions.
Always be patient and positive, encourage practice, and praise effort. Becoming a good writer takes time and practice.
- Use paper with raised lines for a sensory guide to staying within the lines.
- Try different pens and pencils to find one that’s most comfortable.
- Practice writing letters and numbers in the air with big arm movements to improve motor memory of these important shapes. Also practice letters and numbers with smaller hand or finger motions.
- Encourage proper grip, posture, and paper positioning for writing. It’s important to reinforce this early as it’s difficult for students to unlearn bad habits.
- Use multi-sensory techniques for learning letters, shapes, and numbers. For example, speaking through motor sequences, such as “b” is “big stick down, circle away from my body.”
- Introduce a word processor on a computer early; however do not eliminate handwriting for the child. While typing can make it easier to write by alleviating the frustration of forming letters, handwriting is a vital part of a person’s ability to function.
Encourage practice through low-stress opportunities for writing. This might include writing letters or in a diary, making household lists, or keeping track of sports teams.
- Allow use of print or cursive – whichever is more comfortable.
- Use large graph paper for math calculation to keep columns and rows organised.
- Allow extra time for writing assignments.
- Begin writing assignments creatively with drawing, or speaking ideas into a tape recorder
- Alternate focus of writing assignments – put the emphasis on some for neatness and spelling, others for grammar or organisation of ideas.
- Explicitly teach different types of writing – expository and personal essays, short stories, poems, etc.
- Do not judge timed assignments on neatness and spelling.
- Have students proofread work after a delay – it’s easier to see mistakes after a break.
- Help students create a checklist for editing work – spelling, neatness, grammar, syntax, clear progression of ideas, etc.
- Encourage use of a spell checker – speaking spell checkers are available for handwritten work.
- Reduce amount of copying; instead, focus on writing original answers and ideas.
- Have student complete tasks in small steps instead of all at once.
- Find alternative means of assessing knowledge, such as oral reports or visual projects.
Teenagers and Adults
Many of these tips can be used by all age groups. It is never too early or too late to reinforce the skills needed to be a good writer.
- Provide tape recorders to supplement note taking and to prepare for writing assignments.
- Create a step-by-step plan that breaks writing assignments into small tasks (see below).
- When organising writing projects, create a list of keywords that will be useful.
- Provide clear, constructive feedback on the quality of work, explaining both the strengths and weaknesses of the project, commenting on the structure as well as the information that is included.
- Use assistive technology such as voice-activated software if the mechanical aspects of writing remain a major hurdle.
This article is brought to you by National Center for Learning Disabilities. For more information on the organisation or the article, please visit http://www.ncld.org
Saying the event was spectacular was an understatement. After months of preparation and anticipation to make Metta Charity Banquet 2012 a magnificent event, it was finally the day this significant event materialised. After a full day of pre-event set-up on 7 October, 2012, Sunday, our banquet doors at Raffles Town Club were finally opened and ready to receive our guests.
The evening commenced with photo taking at the backdrop we specially set up outside of the banquet hall. To create the right ambience, we also got smartly-dressed hotel attendants weave in and out of the crowd serving cocktails comprising of fresh strawberries and sparkling drinks. Soothing jazz music played in the background to perfect the mood.
At 7pm, guest-of-honour President Tony Tan and the first lady arrived, and children from Metta Preschool scurried to escort them in their safari get-ups as they have previously rehearsed. This grand entrance marked the commencement of the charity banquet.
A Moment Like This
Subsequently it was the launch of our 20th anniversary commemorative book. In conjunction with Metta’s celebration of its platinum 20th this year, we decided to launch our second commemorative publication featuring a series of its significant milestones during the charity banquet. Completing the book were snippets of interviews of our beloved stakeholders, who made up key scaffolds of Metta’s development. This official launch was certainly a proud moment for us.
Following the book launch was one of the main highlights of the evening – screening of an original video production we filmed specially for the event. In preparation for the banquet’s entertainment, we decided there is no better time to showcase our clients than a grand event like this. They are after all, our pride and joy.
Thus, prior to the event, we chatted up with two of our beneficiaries who very graciously agreed to be interviewed; Yong Qiao Qi and Shirley Heng. Through the filming of the interviews, we had the opportunity to know more about the two young lasses and even uncovered the unexpected side of them beyond their public personas.
Yong Qiao Qi, for instance, mostly appears to be reserved and shows unwavering focus when she is working at Arts@Metta, a sheltered workshop for Metta School graduates to further enhance their mastery of visual arts. However, there is more to the understated artist than meets the eye. She is actually an unabashed dance expert who will, from time to time, show off her grooves to her colleagues and instructors at her workplace. She is also a self-confessed tomboy who takes a keen interest in dinosaurs and playing soccer.
Although Qiao Qi is born with Down syndrome, the determined 21-year-old has never once been deterred by her disability to pursue anything she had her mind set on. She presently works as a visual artist, primarily in the area of batik painting, and also a full-time role model to youths like herself.
Another highlight of the evening was the sand art performance. We caught on the sand art fad and invited sand art artist, Ms Tan Sock Fong, to customise an elegant piece of performance for our audience’s viewing pleasure. For the next 10 to 15 minutes, the audience was spellbound by the beautiful performance. And it ended delightfully with roaring applauses.
The evening continued with a series of diverse and interesting performances put up by our talented clients and staff. By the end of the dinner, all our guests had their fill of fascinating entertainment and delectable food. As for us, it was an extremely nostalgic evening to round up our 20th anniversary celebration. Every carefully planned detail we took for the event was reminiscent of the 20 years of effort taken to build Metta Welfare Association. Moving forward, Metta is ready to put in more effort than before to our beneficiaries and continue spreading our compassionate love.
Contributed by Anuwar Abdul Wahab
This is the second Prom Night organised for Metta School’s students in celebration of their graduation. In addition, the students had a special treat this year. The event location was upgraded from the school premises to a Holiday Inn Orchard City Hotel. “Pop Starz” being the theme of the evening, 18 staff and 26 students from the graduating classes let their hair down in participation of the event.
The night was filled with games and food. The Deejay planned three games throughout the night – (1) Name the Movies, (2) Number Patterns and (3) Know your Logos. After which, a performance by four teachers (Ms Selina, Ms Ika, Mr Amir and Mr Winston), and four students (Saiful Nizzam, Shaiful, Ariff and Ramdan) followed. The evening was instantly lifted with their comical rendition of the Gangnam styled dance.
Nearing the end of the evening, fun awards were given out to some students based on peer voting. Miss Smarty Pants went to Chew Zi Ling, Miss Chatterbox to Sioe Poh Yee, Miss Sunshine to Syamin Afiqah, Mr Metta to Lim Jun Hao, and lastly, Mr Funny went to Ho Rui Cai.
Needless to say, the night could not end without a good old fashioned Prom Night’s dance. After which, it was time for the graduates to say their last goodbyes.
At the blink of an eye, we are nearing the end of 2012. The good news is, this marks the start of the season of giving and it usually means more takings for charities like us. We, on the other hand, will definitely take the opportunity to spread some festive cheers and Dāna to our beneficiaries.
Dāna is a practice of cultivating unconditional generosity, leading to possessing greater spiritual wealth in people. In Buddhism, one is encouraged to give away one’s pet possessions as it will test one’s sincerity to part with those materials. The concept of dāna is better explained with one of King Ashoka’s anecdotes.
King Ashoha, a reincarnation of Shakyamuni Buddha, was a powerful monarch in India. One of his anecdotes narrates his first encounter with Buddha at a young age. While Buddha and Venerable Ananda were imploring for alms one day, they encountered two children who were playing with a make-believe city made of sand. Amongst the children’s sand structures, there was a house with food storage. A child saw the passing Buddha and generously offered his make-believe food made of sand to him as alms. The other child watched the deed and rejoiced for his friend.
The child who offered his make-believe food to Buddha was King Ashoka. In reward for his unadulterated sincerity to offer alms to a needy monk, the child was made king when he grew up. His friend who rejoiced for his kind deed grew up to be a government minister as he had also portrayed kindness in his act of rejoice.
The moral tale depicts a clear message that good begets good; no good deed will go unrewarded. Dāna is simply a philosophy of pure generosity, encouraging one to give without expecting any return. The reward may not be reciprocated instantaneously, but will definitely be materialised in some forms in due time. I would like to appeal to each and every one of you to attempt to understand the true meaning of dāna and hope you will practise it and receive greater spiritual wealth.
How You Can Help
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