Our Stories: A journey to independence

A journey to independence


During group activities, Marcus, 35, constantly inspires his peers by helping them with their work after completing his own. A shining example at the Jurong Training and Developmental Centre (JTDC), Marcus has picked up many independent living skills, including operating the vacuum cleaner, cleaning surfaces, and mixing ingredients for cooking. 

For Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (PWIDs), simple tasks can prove to be a challenge, but with the coaching of Training Officers (TOs) at MINDS Training & Development Centres (TDCs), clients are empowered to achieve independence and lead meaningful lives. Marcus’s determination to live independently shows. His TOs, whom he has been of excellent help to, are proud of how far he has come since his early days at the centre.

Marcus posing for the camera at JTDC's birthday celebrations photobooth (2021)

Since Marcus joined JTDC five years ago, he has learned to adapt to the lifestyle in the centre on his own. What surprised Mr Ambrose Chi, Marcus’s TO, most was his ability to adapt to new and sudden changes,

“Marcus has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which means that sudden change in schedules or activities is a potential trigger of frustration in him. However, what we have been observing is contrary to what we have expected. This was especially evident during the pandemic – even though the centre had significantly reduced outings, this never bothered Marcus as he was aware and understood the situation we were in. This is something that we are incredibly proud of.”

In his first 2 years at JTDC, Marcus struggled with emotional management, and would often repeat certain phrases or words when he was annoyed or unhappy. Through self-reflection and guidance from his TOs, Marcus learnt new ways to express these emotions and has made significant progress in managing his emotions over the years.

Marcus has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which means that sudden change in schedules or activities is a potential trigger of frustration in him. However, what we have been observing is contrary to what we have expected. ... This is something that we are incredibly proud of.

Ambrose Chi
MINDS Training Officer

A place for personalised growth and to nurture skills

Marcus’s day-to-day schedule at JTDC consists of holistic lessons and training, which allows him to gain greater independence in his daily-living and social skills. Every lesson and activity is customised by his TOs to promote individualised learning and effective support for his growth, enabling Marcus to live independently. Training activities like personal grooming, housekeeping, language development, exercise sessions and group outings form the foundation of nurturing Marcus’s independence to live and socialise outside of his comfort zones.

Alongside recreational activities, including arts and crafts, singing and dancing – all of Marcus’s favourite activities – the centre also provides pre-vocational training, which equips clients like Marcus with relevant work skills and good work habits to prepare them for supported employment programmes at the Employment Development Centre (EDC).

Marcus’s mother, Mrs Ang, says that he likes going to the centre, and is happy with his current lifestyle. She looks forward to the possibility of her son working at the Employment Development Centre, but ultimately only wishes for his happiness.

TDCs like JTDC also work with community partners and volunteers to offer opportunities for adults with special needs to be guided and empowered to pursue personal development and their interests.

Marcus out for an excursion to Jewel Changi Airport (2019)

As MINDS celebrates its 60th anniversary, we would like to encourage a deeper understanding of intellectual disability, and the importance of helping PWIDs integrate into society. Learn more about our Training and Development Centres here and make a difference in the lives of PWIDs by exploring a career with MINDS here.

Explore volunteering opportunities or consider donating to our cause as we champion the lives of PWIDs!

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NOTICE OF THE 59TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF MINDS: NOTICE is hereby given that the 59th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) will be held by way of electronic means as follows: Date: Saturday , 18 September 2020 Time: 9:30am (Registration starts at 8:30am) Venue: Online via ZOOM MINDS members will be receiving an email on the notice of AGM and are strongly encouraged to register your attendance to facilitate the verification process on the day of the AGM. For enquiries regardingthe AGM, members may email to [email protected] or call 849607358