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Circuit breaker can be a blessing

As a single mum caring for a severely disabled child, Ms Judith Knight's situation may seem more unusual than most.

But some of the challenges she faces in taking care of her 13-year-old son, Jake Kristian Knight, are similar to other mums', says Ms Knight, founder of Wings Therapy and Learning Centre.

It offers intensive therapy for children and young adults with diverse neurological and developmental needs, such as those with muscular dystrophy and brain injury.

Ms Knight, a Singaporean in her early 40s, also has an elder daughter and a younger son. Her parents and a domestic helper make up the rest of their household.

"We work together as a team to take care of Jake, who has complex needs," she says.

On account of an extremely rare mutation in the NACC1 gene, Jake has conditions such as quadriplegic cerebral palsy, epilepsy and a sleep disorder.

He uses a wheelchair and is able to move around with assistance. He needs help with activities of daily living, such as showering and eating.

Because of the circuit breaker period, Jake has not been able to visit Wings for his therapy sessions, which take place at least thrice a week.

Ms Knight, a trained therapist, has to take the place of Jake's two regular therapists, doing Cuevas Medek Exercises – a specialist physiotherapy treatment – with him every day for at least an hour.

The exercises help him progress towards greater independence in movements, such as sitting and getting up in bed, she says.

Making Jake do the exercises echoes other parents' challenges in helping their kids with home-based learning as schools close, according to Ms Knight.

Single mum Judith Knight says the good thing about the circuit breaker period is that it allows her to spend time with her son, Jake Kristian. PHOTO: JUDITH KNIGHT

"He fights me when I'm doing his therapy because I'm his mother. It's like how it's easier for a regular kid to be taught by his teacher rather than his parent," she says.

Jake is home-schooled by Ms Knight and her mother, a retired teacher, at Primary 6 level, the standard his 12-year-old brother Tommie is at.

Partially verbal, Jake also communicates via gestures and AugmentatiRead More – Source

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