I would briefly tell Mrs Kong what she would expect to see in a child with Down Syndrome. As Down Syndrome is one of the intellectual disability, one needs a longer time to learn and may encounter difficulties with academic work. Hence, she has to be mentally prepared for Nicky’s future development as some children may improve on their delays while some may not (Lim & Quah, 2004). Furthermore, she might see that Nicky’s physical appearance might gradually change and these are signs of her having Down Syndrome. However, Lim and Quah (2004) did say that these children do not necessary require different teaching methods. They can still function as per normal, with some assistance provided. Lim and Quah (2004) also added that people with mild intellectual disabilities usually are able to take care of their basic necessities and daily living needs. There are still many job opportunities they can take on provided that there is appropriate training and support.
b) Given the limited information provided, what would you advise Mrs Kong about:
i) Enrolling Nicky into the centre's toddler class
I would advise her to enroll Nicky into the toddler class so as to expose Nicky to the school’s learning environment as well as learn functional skills. This allows Mrs Kong to observe Nicky’s development in a mainstream classroom for a period of time and see if Nicky can cope in such environment. After a period of time, she can then decide if there is a need to enroll her into a special education school. Furthermore, as a toddler teacher and understanding Nicky’s situation, I can plan appropriate curriculum for Nicky and work collaboratively with Mrs Kong to aid Nicky’s learning. As parent involvement is crucial especially in children with special needs, I would let Mrs Kong understand that partnership is important.
ii) Nicky's diagnosis of having Down Syndrome
It is advisable for Mrs Kong to make an appointment and bring Nicky to go for further assessment. I would tell her that it is important to have the child diagnosed early so that early intervention can be provided. According to Lim and Quah (2004), early intervention aids the child to maximize his learning and lay a foundation for later learning of more complicated skills. It also reduces the effects of the disability as well as prevents further development of other disabilities. Moreover, Nicky’s degree of Down Syndrome might be just mild. It is still possible to include Nicky in mainstream school and she may still be able to mix relatively well with her peers.
c) What would you disclose to Mrs Kong about special education, special school and inclusive education in Singapore?
There are both pros and cons to special education and inclusive education in Singapore. According to Hallahan and Kauffman (2003) as cited in Lim and Quah (2004), special education is a specially planned education that meets the unusual needs of children with special needs. Special equipments, materials, and medical treatment are used in special education school. In Singapore, some examples of special schools are Rainbow Centre and AWWA Special School. They provide special education for children with intellectual disabilities from birth.
On the other hand, inclusion education allows children with disabilities to be included in general education classroom with necessary support and diverse curriculum adapted for the child with disability to participate meaningfully. Being included in the mainstream school allows the child with disabilities to gain knowledge and learn more than functional skills. As the disability policy mentioned, Singapore is moving towards an inclusive society where people with disabilities are integrated and equal opportunities for education and employment are offered (MCYS, 2009). Hence, it is possible and beneficial to include Nicky in mainstream school.
Lim, L ., & Quah, M. M. (2004). Educating Learners with Diverse Abilities. Singapore: McGraw Hill.
Ministry of Community Development Youth and Sports (MCYS). (2009). Elderly, disability and gambling safeguard division. Retrieved August 12, 2009, from
Done by: Chee Wan Ching / Group B
Done by: Chee Wan Ching / Group B