By Singapore Teaching Centre, British Council

10 February 2022 - 10:00

Special Olympics Singapore - Montage

The British Council helps young people to gain the skills, confidence and connections they are looking for to realise their potential and to participate in strong and inclusive communities. Recently, we partnered with Project Grace, a Singapore National Youth Council Young ChangeMakers project, and Special Olympics Singapore, on a fun and educational programme for people with intellectual disabilities.

Our work with Project Grace and Special Olympics Singapore

Our partnership with Project Grace and Special Olympics Singapore was driven by a shared mission to help empower people with intellectual disabilities. Project Grace is a Singapore National Youth Council Young ChangeMakers Project committed to ending discrimation against and creating opportunities for these members of our community – estimated to make up around 150,000 in Singapore.

Project Grace operates in collaboration with Special Olympics Singapore, an organisation that provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports to children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Their efforts create opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, fellow Special Olympics athletes and the wider community. Watch their recent campaign video for a look at the work they do.

Learn more on Bitesize 90

Together we organised a series of Bitesize 90 workshops designed to equip participants with good interpersonal communication skills and boost their confidence in common situations. Here’s what we covered.

Workshop one: Interpersonal Communication Part I

Effective communication is the foundation of strong interpersonal relationships. On 8 January, @SpecialOlympicssg and @sgMINDS IDEA Employment Development Centre beneficiaries participated in a Bitesize 90 workshop jointly hosted by Project Grace and the British Council in Singapore.

In the 90-minute session, we discussed how to communicate well in different social contexts, covering topics such as listening, empathy and speaking tone. To explore the purpose of interpersonal communication skills, we asked our participants to imagine what they would be able to see, hear and feel if they were part of a team where everyone is demonstrating good communication.

Workshop two: Interpersonal Communication Part II

Knowing how to say the right thing at the right time is a crucial element of effective communication. On 15 January, our beneficiaries from @SpecialOlympicssg and @sgMINDS IDEA Employment Development Centre returned for our second Bitesize 90 workshop. In the 90-minute session, we learned about appropriate communication in different situations. Participants were asked to share their thoughts on good conversation topics, and ways of showing positive interest when listening, particularly when meeting someone for the first time. Our group was able to end the session with new skills for self-expression and building rapport with others.

What our organisers and volunteers say

'This course was very well structured and edited to suit the needs of Special Olympics athletes. There was a very even distribution of time for volunteer-beneficiary interaction and trainer-led teaching. I came to be better aware of the communicative needs of persons with intellectual disabilities (PWIDs).' – Warren, Core Organising Team

'The programme was well thought out and tailored to the target audience. Overall, it was a very meaningful experience for the participants as they appeared to enjoy themselves and were quite active, engaging well with the volunteers. One thing I learned about myself was to interact more openly with PWIDs. There’s such an overwhelming stigma, but this experience made me realise that we share many commonalities and that PWIDs can be really interesting people to talk to.' – Aloysius, Volunteer

'The workshop has certainly been fruitful and enriching, as we had the chance to partake in helping and interacting with Special Olympics athletes — something that we would not have had the opportunity to do normally. By aiding in developing their social interaction skills, the course makes an important step towards challenging the long-standing stigmatisation against PWIDs, and I truly feel fortunate to have been a part of this collaborative effort.' – Yuxiao, Volunteer

Learn more on In-house corporate training

About the British Council

This year the British Council celebrates 75 years in Singapore. We are the United Kingdom's international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. The British Council builds connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. We are strongly committed to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, which means that we want all students of English to participate in our programmes irrespective of race, gender or ability. We help people to gain the skills, confidence and connections they need to realise their potential and to be part of strong and inclusive communities. 

Find out more about the British Council in Singapore, our Bitesize 90 and In-house corporate training programmes.