Person with cerebral palsy + Caregiver to child with special needs
Diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Mr Alan Pek is also a parent to a child with special needs. Despite the challenges, Alan has gone through this journey with tremendous tenacity and unconditional love. During the pregnancy of their daughter, Ling Fei, Alan and his wife learned that Ling Fei’s brain fluid was over the normal threshold and was advised to abort her. “We decided to keep her and give her a chance to come into this world and to let the world meet her. The most important thing is that we give her a lot of love,” he says.
While struggling to communicate effectively with Ling Fei, the family also found it increasingly difficult to manage behaviours of concerns as Ling Fei got older and stronger. Loud noises or crowded places can overstimulate Ling Fei, triggering meltdowns where she cries and rolls on the floor. Facing the COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges for the family, such as having to hold Ling Fei down while helping her take an Antigen Rapid Test (ART). They sought help from a healthcare agency to dispatch a doctor and nurse to give Ling Fei her COVID-19 vaccination at home, which Alan described as “traumatising” for both Ling Fei and the family. As parents, they must be very firm with Ling Fei and “manifest unconditional empathy”, says Alan.
Driven by his personal experiences growing up and raising Ling Fei, Alan, an IT professional with Deutsche Bank, advocates for Persons with Disability (PWDs) in the areas of disability, inclusive living, employability and workplace culture through Deutsche Bank’s voluntary advocacy group for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) – dbEnable, the Singapore Business Network on Disability (SBNOD) and the executive committee of the Handicaps Welfare Association (HWA).