(a) What would you reveal to Mrs Kong regarding your professional view about children with Down Syndrome and their future in Singapore? (4 Marks)
I would first inform Mrs Kong about the characteristics of children with Down Syndrome and let her understand that it is an intellectual disability, and that they are still capable of taking care of themselves when given the right assistance in learning the essential skills (Lim & Quah, 2004).
I would then let her know about the assistance system provided for children with Down Syndrome locally, which includes early intervention, inclusion programmes, education and social and vocational training workshops to prepare them for work (Down Syndrome Association Singapore, 2009). From this, I would then provide her with more information about the education route children with Down Syndrome can take in Singapore. This includes Early Intervention Programme (EIPIC) and Integration Facilitation Support Programme (IFSP) (Down Syndrome Association Singapore, 2009). Children with Down Syndrome can attend special education schools like Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) and Rainbow Centre (Lim & Quah, 2004), or attend mainstream schools.
(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)
I would explain the benefits of Early Intervention to Mrs Kong, which is to make the most out of children’s learning during their preschool years, which is the most receptive learning period, and that it helps to lessen the effects of the disability (Lim & Quah, 2004). I would then advise her to enrol Nicky into schools with Early Intervention Programmes, like MINDS, Rainbow Centre and Asian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA) special school such that Nicky would be able to benefit from this.
(ii) Nicky's diagnosis of having Down Syndrome. (2 Marks)
I would advise Mrs Kong to follow the doctor’s advice to send Nicky for further assessment such that they can gain more information about Nicky’s condition. Strategies can be devised to meet Nicky’s developmental needs only when there is more understanding regarding his developmental stage. From this, Mrs Kong can then send Nicky for Early Intervention as it comprises an extensive system of therapies, family supports and educational, nutritional and child care to help lessen the effects of the disability (Smith & Guralnick as cited in Heward, 2009).
(c) What would you disclose to Mrs Kong about special education, special school and inclusive education in Singapore? (6 Marks)
Heward (2009) defined special education as purposeful intervention which aims to prevent, eliminate, and/or overcome barriers that might keep a child with disabilities from learning and participating actively in school or society. Special education in Singapore aims to help develop every child’s ability to its fullest potential (Lim & Quah, 2004) and there are many special schools offering special education in Singapore. Special schools for children with Down Syndrome include MINDS, AWWA special school, Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) and Rainbow Centre (Lim & Quah, 2004).
Mainstream schools in Singapore generally practise integration, but Singapore is slowly moving towards inclusion as seen with the growing acceptance of integration and inclusion in mainstream schools, and individuals with mild disabilities attending mainstream schools from preschool up to tertiary level (Lim & Quah, 2004). I would advise Mrs Kong to first enrol Nicky in Early Intervention Programmes before slowly progressing to inclusive education.
Down Syndrome Association Singapore. (2009). Adult services. Retrieved August 13, 2009 from Singapore Down Syndrome Association Website:
Down Syndrome Association Singapore. (2009). Children Services. Retrieved August 13, 2009 from Singapore Down Syndrome Association Website:
Down Syndrome Association Singapore (2009). Family support services. Retrieved August 13, 2009 from Singapore Down Syndrome Association Website:
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: McGraw-Hill Education (Asia).
By: Goh Tze Chee