a)What would you reveal to Mrs Kong regarding your professional view about children with Down Syndrome and their future in Singapore?
I would reassure Mrs Kong that children with Down Syndrome are able to take care of their own basic needs and are capable of being independent in the community, given the opportunity as well as encouragement and practice. In addition, given the appropriate training, there are many jobs available for them to do proficiently. (Lim & Quah, 2004) Therefore, with the appropriate trainings given, I believe that Nicky would be able to contribute back to society.
Furthermore, Down Syndrome Association of Singapore (DSA) has started a research in 2007, on including children with Down Syndrome into main stream schools. As stated, there are many positive examples which have proven that children with Down Syndrome can be included into a main stream school, provided the necessary support an accommodation. Hence, with this research in mind, this shows that Singapore is moving towards an inclusive setting for all children with Down Syndrome, thus, in time to come, Nicky may be able to receive the proper care and education.
b)Given the limited information provided, what would you advise Mrs Kong about:
i)Enrolling Nicky into the centre’s toddler class
As Nicky requires much individualized attention from the teachers, I feel that if the teacher child ratio is appropriate, I would encourage Mrs Kong to enroll Nicky into the centre’s toddler class. I feel that Nicky should not be deprived of the chance to have a normal social interaction with peers of his age. Also, I would modify my lessons according to his learning needs so that he would also be given the chance to learn along with his peers.
ii)Nicky's diagnosis of having Down Syndrome
I would suggest to Mrs Kong to bring Nicky for a diagnosis as soon as possible in order to gauge the severity of his condition. This is so that he would be able receive proper intervention as soon as possible. With accordance to the National Association for Down Syndrome, “Early intervention services should be provided shortly after birth.” (2009). In addition, with the diagnosis, teachers and specialist would be able to collaborate and come up with activities or lessons to help with Nicky’s development.
c)What would you disclose to Mrs Kong about special education, special school and inclusive education in Singapore?
According to Heward (2009), “Special education is, first of all, purposeful intervention designed to prevent, eliminate, and/or overcome the obstacles that might keep a child with disabilities from learning and from full and active participation in school and society.” (p. 35.)
In Singapore, there are many special needs schools, namely, MINDS, AWWA special school as well as Rainbow Centre. These schools cater to the different children with special needs in Singapore. For example, in MINDS, they have a variety of programmes which cater to the learning needs for children with Down Syndrome from the age of 4 years to the age of 18 years. The teachers at the schools are well trained and they provide the children with individualized attention so as to address the learning needs for each child. (MINDS, 2005) Children there are being taught basic self help skills, self awareness, fine and gross motor skills as well as basic vocabulary and pre-writing skills for the children between the age of 4 to 6. (MINDS, 2005)
I strongly encourage Mrs Kong to first enroll Nicky in the toddler class to see how he copes with the learning in the centre first whilst she waits for the report from the doctor. When Nicky is 4 years of age and she feels that he would be able to benefit more from the education in the special needs school, she may enroll him into the programme but I would advise her to allow Nicky to attend main stream pre school as well so that he would be able to interact with other peers his age.
National Association for Down Syndrome (2009). Learning and Development. Retrieved August 14, 2009, from National Association for Down Syndrome website:
Down Syndrome Association Singapore (2009). Not Disabled Differently Able, Children Services. Retrieved August 14, 2009, from Down Syndrome Association website:
MINDS (2005). MINDS Schools Programmes. Retrieved August 14, 2009, from
Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) website: http://www.minds.org.sg/schools/programs.php
Heward, W. L. (2006). Exceptional children: An introduction to special education.
(8th ed.).Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, Merrill Prentice Hall.
Lim, L., & Quah, M. M. (2004). Educating learners with diverse abilities. Singapore:
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