Father Says Boy In Yishun Playground Fight Is Autistic, Was No Threat To Other Children
“My son is autistic…he wasn’t a threat to (other children).”
That’s what a father is saying after his son was caught on video being assaulted by a man at an indoor playground in Yishun.
The footage went viral, sparking a vigorous debate about whether it was right for an adult to hit someone else’s child.
Some netizens questioned why the boy’s mother had let him run astray, while others criticised the man for lashing out at the 5-year-old.
In the video, the boy is seen getting kicked by the man after trying to take a toy from him.
But in an interview with Shin Min Daily News, the boy’s father, Mr Luo said that his son was unaware that he was being “bullied”.
Mr Luo elaborated,
It was only that night that he told my wife that his abdomen and area around his groin were hurting. He told her that the ‘uncle’ at the playground was very fierce and we realised that something was wrong.
The couple lodged a police report the next day, but not before detailing the incident in this Facebook post, which has since been removed.
A hug, not an attack
Some netizens likened the boy’s act of leaning on the man’s back to an act of violence.
But Mr Luo said that it was actually a way of “gaining affirmation”, saying,
My son was going to hug him to gain his affirmation, so he could play with his kids. I can comprehend my child’s action but not everyone is the same.
Mr Luo also addressed criticism that his son had retaliated at the man.
It was just due to his reflexes kicking in after getting pushed.
More tolerance for children with special needs
Mr Luo revealed that his son had been diagnosed with autism when he was a one-year-old,
Although he is autistic, it does not mean that he doesn’t like to interact with others. He’s actually a good kid and loves to play with other children. He isn’t a threat to them.
The couple has also been teaching their son how to behave in public but calls for greater understanding from the public.
Since the incident, the boy has returned to kindergarten. Mr Luo also confirmed that he had not been hurt in the incident.
It’s good to hear that the boy is safe and that police are looking into the matter.
Although unfortunate, at least this incident sparked the much-needed – and at times, uncomfortable – conversation about inclusiveness in Singapore.
Now it’s up to us to keep it going.
Featured image from Facebook.