Autism Network Singapore (ANS) is a platform for Social Service Organisations (SSOs) serving the autism community and other stakeholders to create public awareness and mobilise support for the autism cause.
ANS seeks to increase the support rendered in addressing the needs of an estimated 50,000 persons with autism in Singapore. Participation in ANS is open to other SSOs, government and related stakeholders.
The current member organisations are:
As Singapore aspires to be more inclusive, there is a greater need for key service providers to collaborate and ensure better life outcomes for those with additional needs. ANS is our way of adopting a more strategic approach to proactively identify and address sector-wide issues and gaps, increase public’s awareness of autism, and mobilise the village for the autism cause.
To further the cause for Autism, members from ANS were consulted in the 3rd Enabling Masterplan (2017 – 2021), to maximise the potential of persons with autism in Singapore. In addition to raising awareness, supporting inclusion and celebrating the abilities of persons with autism, topics that were discussed include:
- Early intervention
- Lifelong education
- Residential, caregiving and independent living skills
ANS aspires to be a unified and significant voice to help raise the standard of support and services for the ASD community in Singapore.
World Autism Awareness (Singapore) is one of the main activities of ANS. To celebrate World Autism Awareness Day, WAA(S) is held annually on 2 April, to raise awareness about the needs of persons living with autism, as well as in celebration of their strengths.
What is World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD)?
Autism is a pervasive, neurodevelopmental disorder that affects tens of millions. The UN resolution was hence passed with the intention of bringing the world’s attention to the needs and struggles of persons living with autism among member states. Through theWorld Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), member states participate by raising awareness about autism throughout society, as well as encourage early diagnosis and intervention. A key objective of WAAD was also to shed light on the high rate of autism in children in all regions of the world and the consequent developmental challenges.
Fun Fact: The Birth of World Autism Awareness Campaign in Singapore
It all began with a group of first year medical students from Duke-NUS Graduate MedicalSchool, Benjamin Sheares College, who had a common vision for social inclusion and integration of the autism community with the community at large. With the college embracing the autism cause, they played a central role in planning and co-ordinating the WAAD roadshows for the WAA(S) partners, organising a seminar series for caregivers and medical professionals, which drew a positive response year on year and liaising with building & attraction owners for the month long Light It Up Blue campaign (later renamed as Light Up for Autism).
As a result of the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School students’ hard work during the early years of the WAAD campaign, it eventually led the WAA(S) partners to the form ANS, the first of its kind autism network in Singapore, on 7 April 2015.