Adulting in Singapore with Developmental Disabilities

Adulting is never easy. But for someone with Developmental Disabilities (DD), how do common responsibilities like financial independence, housing and marriage look like for them? 

Before we close the month of March, which also marks the month of Developmental Disabilities Awareness month, *Anne, one of Foreword Coffee Roasters’ staff, shared what adulting is like for someone with DD.

Hello! Please introduce yourself.

I’m *Anne, and I am part of the admin team in Foreword. I help to take pictures and make use of some of my artistic skills for illustration projects.

I also started some basic admin work like packing online orders. It shows me that this is possibly the behind the scenes of my own online shopping orders!

Some of the images taken by *Anne.

Some of these images are used in Foreword Coffee Roasters’ Instagram!


What is one moment which made you realise you are an adult?

I discovered that I was an adult when I had to apply for a job after my graduation from a private animation school at 17. I did over 300 plus interviews and applications and it was hard to find one who is willing to support me in my job for sustainable employment.


Financial independence, getting married and owning a house are some of the typical Singaporean adulting goals. Do any of these relate to you?

Mine is financial independence obviously.

Prior to working in Foreword, I felt like a burden in not contributing financially especially with the CPF funding. But now I am happy to have a small taste of freedom in the financial independence area though I still need some time in the management of money.

The other thing for people with disabilities is transport, although it is relatively easy for me to travel around. I originally planned for a driving licence but my mentor from Phileo mentorship made me realise I need quite a bit of cash to fund it.

Having a house is another adulting to do next. I hope there will be a better way to getting my own house without a certain age limit and marital status.

Like every adult, marriage is also on the list, especially nowadays where I see friends getting married on social media. Despite attending a good intention course about dating and marriage, I still find it difficult to learn how to date. Also, it really boils down to liking someone’s personality and for that person to accept me for who I am. 


What do you want others to know about developmental disabilities as someone with autism?

As someone on the spectrum, I hope others know that we take longer, sometimes even years, to do things, but we’ll get there with the right support and community.  Not everyone will be able to do this adulting thing and I am lucky that I am able to do my own adulting.  I even went on to college and did a bit of travelling (and I hope to travel more in the future).

*Anne’s watercolour paintings are used in coffee posters at the cafe outlets.


What is one current goal you have as an adult?

To be able to work independently with the new responsibilities in my working life. Now that I am almost doing like a 9 to 5 job, there are a lot of changes in my lifestyle, especially in the routines I’m used to.  I am also learning the techniques of making cashless payments. 


*Name is fictitious

Written by Foreword Coffee Roasters