Different Heroes: Building a happy and independent life is 22-year-old's dream

22-year-old Choo Junwei's hopes for the future is a simple one.

"My dream is to have a better job, be happy and cheerful, and have a better life."

Junwei was diagnosed with moderate Autism Specrum Disorder (ASD) with developmental delay when he was three years old, after his worried parents brought him to the doctor as he still did not speak.

Said his mother Yvonne: "We just have to move on, we cannot say "it's unfair for me".

As a child, his behaviour was often perceived as disruptive.

"When we wanted to go to those kids programmes, he was rejected, because he was running about and disturbing the class," said Yvonne.

She used books that she sometimes created herself to guide him on socially appropriate behaviour, so that "he can learn how to be accepted by society".

Despite his talents in baking, playing musical instruments and even coding, finding a job has been a struggle.

A potential employer pulled out at the last minute, and it was more than a year before Junwei was finally accepted into a training programme that matches those with special needs to jobs.

His parents' wish for their only child is that he can be fully independent, to work and earn a living, even after they can no longer take care of him.

To Joanne Liew, founder of The Heart Enterprise, a social enterprise which supports people with special needs and their families, Junwei is just one of many individuals who can make a positive contribution to society, if only they are given the opportunity.

Special needs individuals can make productive workers in an organisation, if employers provide them the appropriate training and environment. 

Different Heroes is a documentary series initiated by The HEART Enterprise, which showcases four individuals with special needs, and celebrates their unique gifts and talents. The documentary series is a CSR effort by mm2 Entertainment with the support of Cathay Cineplexes, Singapore Pools and Neo Garden Catering.