Friday, August 14, 2009

Ang Xin Yi Michelle Group A

(a) What would you reveal to Mrs Kong regarding your professional view about children with Down Syndrome and their future in Singapore? (4 Marks)

First of all, I would assure Mrs Kong that children with Down syndrome have the opportunity to be educated in Singapore and not all hope is lost. I would assure Mrs Kong that Nicky has the potential and capability to grow up to take care of herself and have a job. For example, the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) has Employment Developmental Centres and Training and Developmental Centres.

However, the road ahead would be a difficult one and her family has to be emotionally prepared and strong for Nicky. Family support and education will help to stretch a child's potential and decrease or prevent subsequent family stresses. (Lim and Quah, 2004) I would give Mrs Kong a list of services which she can look to if she needs any further support. For example, the Down Syndrome Association (DAS) and the Asian Women's Welfare Association (AWWA).(b) Given the limited information provided, what would you advise Mrs Kong about:

(i) Enrolling Nicky into the centre's toddler class; and (2 Marks)

First, I would ask Mrs Kong to look at the curriculum offered by the Special Schools that Nicky can enroll in, before making a decision. After seeing both curriculum offered by the Special schools and our child care centre, Mrs Kong would have a better picture and a more balanced view. If she has her reservations for the Special needs curriculum, then I would encourage Mrs Kong to enroll Nicky in the center’s toddler class because early intervention is crucial and important for Nicky. According to Lim and Quah (2004), early intervention will help to maximize a child's learning is maximised during this most receptive period for learning. It also lays a foundation for Nicky's later learning of more complex skills. Furthermore, Nicky has her own strengths and interests as a child. Allowing her to be in a class would encourage her to grow and develop as an individual.
(ii) Nicky's diagnosis of having Down Syndrome. (2 Marks)

In order to not be too hasty in confirming Nicky's condition, I would advise Mrs Kong to take Nicky to another child specialist. In this way, her mother can seek a second opinion from a professional perspective. I would work closely with Nicky's caregiver, Mrs Kong, the specialist and other fellow teachers; in observing Nicky during her day-to-day interactions and development at the child care centre (should she be enrolled in the centre). With close observations, coupled with a second opinion from another professional, it would be safer to affirm that Nicky exhibits the symptoms of a Down syndrome child.
(c) What would you disclose to Mrs Kong about special education, special school and inclusive education in Singapore? (6 Marks)
First, I would give a brief summary of special education in Singaapore and introduce some of the special schools available for Nicky to attend to when she is older. Special education is more widely practiced in Singapore in contrast to inclusive education. According to the Ministry of Education, to date, there are around 20 special education schools in Singapore that caters to the various disabilities. Out of the 20 special education schools, the schools that cater to Nicky's needs are: Grace Orchard School, Metta School, Association for Persons with Special Needs and Movement for the Intellectually Disabled. These are some of the schools that Mrs Kong can consider when Nicky is older.

Prior to that, there are 4 privately run special schools in Singapore. These schools are run by the Voluntary Organizations (VWOs) and funded by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the National Council of Social Services (NCSS). These schools main aim is to give the best possible education and opportunities to children with diverse needs.

Second, I would define the role of the special needs teachers. In the special schools, teachers are not only trained in managing children with special needs but also in their assessment. Special needs teachers are trained in preparing an individual education program (IEP) for the child. There is a collaborative effort as special needs teachers work with various professional and parents, in order to set inidividualize goals for the child.

In contrast, inclusion education is where children with special needs are included in mainstream classroom with the necessary support provided. The curriculum is also adapted for children with specials needs to be fully involved in the mainstream classroom. I would let Mrs Kong know that although inclusion is not widely practiced in Singapore, there has been a small and gradual progress in towards a more inclusive environment. Lim and Quah (2004) states that Singapore has shown increasing evidence of a drive towards inclusion.

There are preschool centers in Singapore that are willing to enroll children with special needs in their centers. However, in terms of Primary and Seconday School education, it would be difficult for Nicky to be included into mainstream schools as Singapore practices integration, where students must adapt to the school, without the school needing to adapt to the student's needs. (Lim and Quah, 2004).

Lim, L., & Quah, M. M. (2004). Educating learners with diverse abilities. Singapore: McGraw Hill

Ministry of education Singapore (2009). Special education in Singapore. Retrieved August 14, 2009 from Ministry of Education Website:

Movement for the intellectually disabled in Singapore (2005). Training and development centres and Employment development centres. Retrieved August 14, 2009 from Movement for the Intellectually Disabled in Singapore website:

Done by
Ang Xin Yi Michelle
Group A

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