Joshua Lau Yan- Chai, is a 17 year old with autism, won the gold medal at the Special Olympics. He describes it as a cool moment to reporter Kelly Ho of YoungPost, but his parents see it as something so much more than that. His parents view it as a lesson in never putting limitations on what anyone can achieve.
Wallace and Joanna Lau have been working for years to build their son’s confidence. Teachers would tell them that he was stubborn and any attempt to differ from the usual path he took to school would result in tantrums. They decided to take him to the doctor to get checked out. The results confirmed Wallace and Joanna’s belief, that their son had autism.
Joanna and Wallace were at first frustrated with the results and found themselves often comparing Joshua’s development to that of other children. But then they changed their attitudes. They stopped thinking about the challenges they would face and instead began to embrace the life Joshua could have.
They began by letting Joshua try different extracurricular activities such as playing the piano, drawing, swimming, and even unicycling. He developed a passion for figure skating and a big part of the reason for that is because he is able to travel abroad for competitions.
Their most recent trip was to Austria in February 2019, where Joshua represented Hong Kong in the singles level 2 event in the Special Olympics hosted in Vienna. He won a gold medal at the event but was happier that he was able to fly on a plane and eat airline meals.
Wallace was able to be there when Joshua won his gold medal and witnessed the moment of glory. The achievement was more than he and Joanna had ever hoped for. Looking back on the accomplishment their son had, Wallace and Joanna feel blessed.
Joshua will turn 18 this year and already has an idea on what he wants to do when he leaves school; become a baker at Caritas which is an NGO that helps the city’s poor and distressed. Wallace and Joanna are not worried about Joshua’s future, as they know it will be bright.