Having meaningful interpersonal relationships is a key aspect in contributing to a person’s quality of life. While building strong relationships and being part of a larger community may come easily for many of us, persons with intellectual disabilities (PWIDs) often struggle with this due to a myriad of obstacles, including dealing with negative public perceptions of PWIDs and communication challenges. These obstacles often leave PWIDs and their families feeling isolated, which contributes to the deterioration in their quality of life.
Since the inception of MINDS’ Me Too! Club (MTC) in September 2015, MTC recognised the importance of interpersonal relationships for PWIDs and their families. On top of engaging members with intellectual disabilities through activities, MTC also serves as a safe space for members and their families to build meaningful relationships in a safe and supportive community.
Edward Ho, a MTC member who has been serving since December 2019, is one individual who has grown to be more expressive and independent through the MTC community. While he initially faced difficulties managing and expressing his emotions, Edward grew to be more open and communicative about his experiences through the friendships he formed in MTC. When asked what his favourite activities were, Edward responded, “I like to walk and take pictures with (my friends) Joshua and Yaty, and their helpers Oleina and Rosemary play with me. I call (my friend) Thomas on the phone at night to talk to him.”
Ms Amy, Edward’s mother, shared, “I am thankful that Edward made friends in MTC. He always comes home to tell me where he goes and what he does with his friends. … His mood at home has also improved a lot.” On top of engaging with and creating communities for PWIDs, MTC also connects with and supports caregivers like Ms Amy through workshops and networking sessions.
As MTC celebrates its 6th anniversary, it hopes to provide more opportunities for social interaction and integration for all its members and caregivers. They also hope to provide a safe space for members to learn and grow with their peers, and emerge as more confident members of the society.