'I am guiding him': Mum apologises after autistic son caught throwing litter from 10th-floor flat

The 17-year-old was seen throwing items such as books from his unit over at this Ang Mo Kio block.
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News, Google Maps

Caring for someone with autism isn't an easy task.

And that's what one woman hopes her neighbours can understand, after her 17-year-old son was caught throwing a box out of the window of their 10th floor unit at Block 543 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10.

The teen's act was caught on camera by a woman surnamed Chen last Sunday (Aug 14). 

The 45-year-old housewife told Shin Min Daily News that she had noticed rubbish scattered around the ground floor of the block since last year, but had been unable to identify the culprit until then. 

In February this year, the same block also hit the headlines when another resident identified as J complained about bloodstained tissues and an ART kit being flung out of the window from a top floor unit, reported Stomp.

A reporter from Shin Min visited the block on Monday, and noticed that someone had thrown a piece of chocolate out of the window. 

The reporter also noticed piles of rubbish scattered on the fifth and sixth floor of that block — including books, flyers, biscuit boxes, pencils and masks. 

And she managed to locate the culprit's unit on the 10th floor — a 17-year-old boy. 

Speaking to Shin Min, the teenager's mother, surnamed Wu, explained that her son has been diagnosed with autism and needs help. 

She said that she feels apologetic toward the other residents for the litter. 

"As a mother, I have the responsibility, and I apologise for the inconvenience caused to the other residents," she added. "I hope they (the residents) can be understanding, I am already guiding him (my son)." 

The Ang Mo Kio Town Council told Shin Min that they have received feedback from residents regarding the high-rise littering. 

They added that they have informed the National Environment Agency (NEA) about the matter and requested NEA to install more CCTVs in the area. 

AsiaOne has reached out to the Ang Mo Kio Town Council for further comment. 

If one is convicted under the Penal Code for an offence relating to throwing of killer litter, that person is liable to a maximum jail term of five years or a fine, or both.

HDB residents are also discouraged from placing objects on the ledges of windows/balconies and hanging items above the parapet walls/ balconies.

Caring for someone with autism 

According to Open Systems Healthcare, a home care professional company based in the US, some strategies for caring for individuals with autism include scheduling ample time for communication, as the person might need extra time to process what is being said to them. 

Another tip is to remain calm and patient when helping the individual navigate everyday life, especially during moments where they might feel overwhelmed. 

Lastly, it is also helpful to reinforce consistency, as individuals with autism often have trouble adjusting to changes in their routines, schedules and environments. 

Establishing consistency helps the individual feel more in control and feel less anxious. 

Just two weeks ago, a woman who dined at a Swensen's outlet in Clementi Mall said she regretted complaining to the manager after finding out that most of the staff at the restaurant were "mid to high functioning teenagers from APSN school"

She was initially dissatisfied after the servers allegedly made multiple mistakes while attending to her, such as wiping the table with a wet towel, and forgetting to give her utensils. 

The woman then took the Facebook urging others not to "jump the gun too quickly", and commended the outlet's manager in her post. 

ALSO READ: 'My career is now zero': Lecturer quits job to ferry his autistic son around

claudiatan@asiaone.com