Aaron Leong Wei Ming, 11
Rainbow Centre | Superhero Me | i’mable
When asked about things that remind him of home, Aaron Leong Wei Ming typed ‘bird’ on his iPad. Aaron’s caregiver, Umi Kurnia (or Auntie Umi), explained that he was often woken up by birds in the morning. A joint effort with Auntie Umi, Aaron’s artwork depicts a koel bird making mating calls near his house. This represents Singapore’s biodiversity, which Aaron appreciates from home.
Despite Aaron’s challenges with communication and fine motor skills because of cerebral palsy, he exhibited great autonomy in the design process.
Under the guidance of his art facilitators from Superhero Me, Aaron chose his shapes from an array of cut-outs and Auntie Umi would assist by pasting them where he pointed.
Puzzlingly, Aaron chose to illustrate the artwork of a koel bird with four eyes (represented by the crosses). This is a universal experience for many Singaporeans.
Auntie Umi chalked this up to Aaron’s playfulness. She said: “He’s really a cheeky boy... He did it simply because he wanted to.”
Aaron’s exuberance is not restricted to his artworks. While he is normally quiet, he teases others occasionally and has a playful charm.
His close relationship with Auntie Umi manifests outside the classroom too. Aaron’s iPad is loaded with augmentative and alternative communication applications that create words, which Auntie Umi helps interpret.
Even without his iPad, she intuitively understands and assists with his needs. She explained that she tries her best to help Aaron in whatever way possible, knowing that it provides a sense of comfort and connection.
She believes that despite his disability, Aaron is fully capable of making a positive difference to those around him.