A) I will assure Mrs Kong that I understand her concerns and am willing to provide as much help as possible. I will share what is Down syndrome about and some characteristics of this intellectual disability. Reassure that Nicky is still able to progress well if adequate assistance is given to her. Heward (2009) highlighted that Down syndrome may be caused due to prenatal (presence of chromosomal disorder- Trisomy 21, single genes disorders, etc), perinatal (premature delivery, etc) and post natal (infections, malnutrition, etc). Children with Down syndrome learn slower in school as they are impaired intellectually. According to Lim and Quah (2004), people with mild intellectual disabilities such as Down syndrome are usually capable taking care of themselves and live independently.
Although the current situation in Singapore is that it seems to be limited employment opportunities for them. However, Singapore is moving towards a highly industrialized country hence there will be an increase in the variety of employment opened to them in future. Moreover with the advancement in technology, there will be a lot more of assistive technology available to improve Nicky’s living.
Bi) There are more and more schools in Singapore allowing integration. I believe that Singapore is moving forward to inclusion as there are more early childhood educators who advocates and believe that every child has the right to learn, play and be included in the society. Emphasize to Mrs Kong that I support inclusion. Hence I will be more than willing for Nicky to be included in my class. Reassure Mrs Kong that the degree course has equipped me with the knowledge and understanding about Down syndrome and taught me how to work with special children. Nicky is picking up things at her age hence it would be a good solution to send her to a mainstream school. This will allow her to participate fully with the typical children and will create great opportunities for her to interact and learn from her peers. Therefore it will prepare her to step into the society in future.
Bii) I feel sad for such a happy child to be diagnosed with Down syndrome and urge Mrs Kong to send Nicky for further assessment. As the assessment results will provide the school and family for updates on Nicky’s development and growth. In addition, this provides the school and specialists to collaborate with one another. The school will then be able to work out the best teaching strategies to serve the needs of Nicky and adapt the best curriculum which suits her developmental needs.
C) The current situation in Singapore is that there are different special schools in Singapore which cater to different disabilities. Children with special educational needs are studying in a variety of different settings, including mainstream and special schools (Lim and Quah, 2004).
Heward (2009) suggested “Special education consists of purposeful intervention at three levels: preventive, remedial, and compensatory. Special education is individually planned, specialized, intensive, goal directed instruction. When practiced more effectively and ethically, special education uses research based teaching methods and is guided by direct and frequent measures of student performance.”
In the special schools, students are with distinct or multiple disabilities. For children with Down syndrome who are as young as Nicky will be allocated at special education schools like the Rainbow centre and Asian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA) Special School. Rainbow centre serves the age group from birth to sixteen years old and caters to people with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and other neurobiological conditions (Lim and Quah, 2004). AWWA Special School includes programs like the Early-Intervention Programme (EIPIC) and TEACH ME programme which aspired to integrate children with mild disabilities into mainstream preschool settings (Lim and Quah, 2004).
Lim and Quah (2004) suggested that for inclusion, individuals with disabilities are full time members of the mainstream education classroom. Moreover, there are essential supports such as adaptation of learning materials or instructional practices provided to aid their learning and the curriculum is modified to cater to the student’s learning needs. Furthermore, additional staff or specialists are included in the school.
Although in Singapore there are minimal schools which adopt the practice of full inclusion. However, I suppose that it can happen with the collaboration of the government, schools, professionals and families. If Nicky is educated in a mainstream classroom, I believe it will support her a lot and prepare her from moving into the typical society.
Lim, L., & Quah, M. M. (2004). Educating learners with diverse abilities. Singapore: McGraw Hill.
Heward, W. L., (2009). Exceptional children: An introduction to Special Education (9th ed.). Upper Saddle, NJ: Merrill Prentice
Done By: Lee Hwee Lin Cindy / Group B