Parent Hopes For Understanding Of Struggles Children With Autism Face For Swab Tests
As swab tests ramp up for many sectors of the public, some may find that the process is a lot more difficult especially for those with special needs.
One parent shared her story on how her autistic son, Matthew, struggled with getting a swab test.
After seeing that Matthew wasn’t ready to get swabbed, Ministry of Health (MOH) officers eventually agreed that it would be better for him to get exempted.
But it came only after Matthew and his caregivers experienced plenty of stress.
The parent now hopes that there can be more understanding of those with special needs with procedures like swabbing.
We summarise the post below.
Parent of son with autism shares experience with swab tests
Cindy, who’s Matthew’s mother, shared her experience with Facebook community Friends of ASD Families.
Her family happened to be living at a block that requires a mandatory swab test.
However, Matthew, 18, was so terrified of the prospect of getting his nose poked that he couldn’t sleep.
Cindy prayed that Matthew could be exempted as he hasn’t left his house since home-based learning started.
Their MP, Gerald Giam, came door-to-door to reassure residents about the test, so Cindy took the opportunity to let him know about Matthew’s anxiety.
Unfortunately, Mr Giam was told by MOH that they’d like all household members to be tested, although they offered to let the family skip the queue if it would ease things.
Finally exempted after difficulty at swab centre
Cindy had fears that a bad swabbing experience would create more difficulty in Matthew getting his vaccine later.
It’d taken much effort for Matthew to accept everyone wearing masks when they went outdoors.
The process of adaptation to this state of things is particularly tough for Matthew and his caregivers were worried.
When they arrived at the venue, the sight of staff in PPE suits scared Matthew and he started to hit the wall in distress.
His agitation led to officers acknowledging that his safety might be compromised if he got the swab, and after a few calls made, Matthew was finally exempted.
Cindy expressed her gratefulness at MOH’s understanding of their circumstances, but unfortunately, Matthew was already traumatised.
Parent wishes more will be understanding to those with special needs
Still traumatised from the experience, Matthew would become agitated if he heard any update about swabbing at their estate.
Cindy would have to calm him down whenever he relived his trauma.
As such, she hopes that sharing her experience will help increase understanding among the public and authorities.
Getting a swab test can be difficult for people with special needs due to being in an unfamiliar environment and their anxiety.
While she understands the need for authorities to be firm, she also hopes that they can be understanding without needing to prove how difficult their issues can be first.
Hope for more consideration of exceptional circumstances
It may not be the case that everyone with special needs need to be exempted from getting a swab test.
However, if a parent says that it will be considerably difficult for their child to get one due to their circumstances, we do hope that more understanding can be shown.
Hopefully, this will prevent others like Matthew from being traumatised, and the stress for caregivers will be alleviated as well.
Regardless, kudos to everyone including Mr Giam and MOH officers who helped Cindy and Matthew throughout and being understanding.
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