story | Kenisha Alicia, Contributing Reporter
photos | Kenisha Alicia
No matter how capable you appear to be, or what sort of problems you find yourself dealing with, none of us are exempt from taking care of our mental health. This is something Yale-NUS College recognizes, and in doing so has provided students with a wide range of facilities: from the quiet room to an extensive support network including our Residential College Advisors, Dean’s Fellows, Assistant Deans and of course, the Counselling Centre.
But students also have the option to seek help outside of campus if, for example, facilities like the Counselling Centre are fully booked. One such option comes in the form of PitStop@YIH, located one bus stop away from University Town at Yusof Ishak House.
PitStop@YIH was officially opened in October 2018 by the National University of Singapore Office of Student Affairs (OSA) as part of an effort to improve students’ well-being. PitStop@YIH, true to its name, is a place where students can stop by and relax in between classes.
“At PitStop@YIH, there is always a little bit of something for everybody,” said Agnes Yuen, a Staff Advisor at the OSA. Its facilities include a napping room with massage chairs, a quiet area with assistive technologies for differently abled learners, a gaming room, an arts and crafts area (complete with a wall students can draw on) and an area where students can play board games. There are also Peer Student Supporters and OSA staff to lend students a sympathetic ear if they are feeling troubled.
A variety of machines and software that cater to a range of abilities are available at PitStop@YIH. These assistive technologies include a Prodigi Connect Tablet and Magnifier for students with vision impairments. The magnifier scans, magnifies, and uploads hard copy text to the tablet, which can adjust the color of the text displayed and even read it out loud. Software available includes Dragon Naturally Speaking, which converts speech to text, JAWS, which runs alongside many computer applications, converts text to speech and provides Braille output, and Read & Write Gold, a writing software with an inbuilt toolbar aimed at dyslexic students.
Students with different learning disabilities can contact OSA staff at PitStop@YIH to access these facilities. According to Ms. Yuen, however, even if one doesn’t have a marked learning disability, they may still use these facilities to accommodate their own learning preferences.
Similar facilities are also available in Yale-NUS at the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL), where after obtaining a diagnosis at the University Health Centre, students are given access to learning accommodations, which include facilities similar to those available at PitStop@YIH, such as text magnifiers and voice-to-text software.
Contact details for PitStop@YIH: OSAcares@nus.edu.sg