“All our clients are special. Everyone is different. They are smart in their own ways. They can learn to do new things, if we have the patience and love to guide and teach them.” -Elaine Ke
“I love my job and I found my niche!” says Elaine Ke, Programme Assistant at COH (Tampines), age 54. “It allows me to positively influence lives.”
The petite and dynamic teacher, who holds a Diploma in Disability Services as well as a Diploma in Rehabilitation, says of herself, “I am a ‘loud character’, I like bright colours and I enjoy singing and dancing.”
She is undoubtedly someone with “high energy”.
Elaine’s joy overflows into her students’ lives. With little fear of looking silly, she can draw them out easily, often getting them to sing and dance in no time, “When they see your enthusiasm, they will mimic you and join in.”
At the same time, there is a motherly and nurturing personality evident alongside her childlike enthusiasm. “I treat them (the clients) like my own children,” she says, “We build bonds with them.”
Rattling off the names of some clients, Elaine lists what they like specifically.
Ian loves stamps.
Sharon appreciates hugs.
Cheng Guan is happy with coffee.
“All our clients are special. Everyone is different. They are smart in their own ways. They can learn to do new things, if we have the patience and love to guide and teach them,” says Elaine.
“They are very helpful too. Like school children, they are usually happy to carry books or clean the blackboard,” she adds.
While Elaine plays the role of the giver as a Programme Assistant, influencing the lives of her clients; she finds her life influenced, and herself receiving from them too.
“They just know how to return your love. Through the client’s eyes, I see God’s love,” Elaine shares. “When a client gives me a hug, it’s like God is hugging me.”
“The clients are like us, they have feelings too. So, it is important to not embarrass them or look down on them. They will feel sad or angry too,” says Elaine.
Nonetheless, they forgive easily, and this is an aspect of special needs people that Elaine thinks is worth emulating, “They make friends easily and don’t have enemies.”
She admires “their simplicity” and how “easily contented” they are. She thinks that people with special needs are oftentimes excellent role models.
“Contentment is a mental or emotional state of satisfaction drawn from being at ease in one’s situation, body and mind.
Colloquially speaking, contentment is a state of having accepted one’s situation and is a form of happiness.”
About the Author: The COH Resource Team comprises volunteers, content writers and experts, including psychologists, counsellors, educators and social service professionals.