Two parents who attended peer to peer mentor training at the Enabling Village in November 2018 are now enabling more caregivers to mentor new caregivers. David and Susan talk about the importance of giving hope to others who are just starting out.
Some may think being a caregiver is easy for David Tan.
He is, after all, the father of para-equestrian Maximillian Tan, who represented Singapore in the Rio Olympics 2016.
Yet, like any other parent who has a child with disabilities, he had his fair share of trials and tribulations, especially in the early years.
When Maximillian was born 32 years ago with cerebral palsy, David was unsure of what to do. All he wanted was to be the best parent to him.
He went around to seek help from anyone and anywhere – medical professionals, friends, the library.
He recalled that everyone was really helpful, but they really couldn’t do much. There were not that many therapies on the market yet and intervention was not readily available at the time.
He didn’t get the support he needed until he met Leo Chen Ian – an adult with cerebral palsy – when Maximillian was older.
David joined an informal group for children with disabilities which was started by Mr Leo, former president of The Disabled People’s Association.
“You talk to the parents and you find someone with a child with the same disability. And they understand your challenges and your problems much better,” he shared.
“We discussed the positive aspects of our children, and we shared ideas and discoveries…you could see that the parents felt more hopeful. We didn’t know it, but at that time we had started supporting each other.”
David, 65, is currently a trainer on disability matters and advocate for employment and management of persons with disabilities in the workforce.