(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 strongly believe that children with Down Syndrome are just as able as every child, given the necessary support and encouragement. I will, to the best of my ability aid every child in achieving their best. First off, I would explain the term Down syndrome so that Mrs Kong has a clearer idea of what it is. “Down syndrome is a genetic condition caused by the presence of an extra chromosome 21. A baby born with Down syndrome has three copies of chromosome 21 instead of the usual two.” (Down Syndrome Association Singapore, 2009). This will aid her in providing the best care for her child and it is also information that she can share with the domestic helper who is helping to take care of Nicky. Also I will inform Mrs Kong that not all hope is lost as persons with Down syndrome can be quite independent in terms of caring for their basic needs, travelling and living on their own. Although employment opportunities may be limited, there are jobs available that with the right training and support, persons with Down syndrome can certainly undertake (Lim and Quah, 2004).
(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)
It is my personal teaching philosophy that every child, regardless of ability, race or gender is given equal opportunity to learn to the best of their potential. I would therefore highly encourage Mrs Kong to enroll her son, Nicky for the toddler class where I am the teacher in charge. Attending a toddler class will be beneficial as it would aid him in preparation for nursery and kindergarten classes. It is also an opportunity for Nicky to interact with other children which in turn helps him build social competency skills.
(ii) Nicky's diagnosis of having Down Syndrome. (2 Marks)
Since a blood test was conducted, it is fairly certain that Nicky could probably have Down syndrome. For further results, analyzing the chromosomes in the blood cells may prove better results. Because the diagnosis requires a certain amount of time, should Nicky be enrolled in my class, it would be my responsibility to observe and keep records of his progress and behavious in class. This would further aid the pediatrician in giving the right diagnosis.
Also it is excellent that Mrs Kong and her husband have accepted their child’s disability and have begun to look at the available resources and educational facilities. Perhaps, as the teacher, I can provide her with a list of resources such as the Down Syndrome Association Singapore where she can find out more about Down syndrome as well as the available support.
(c) What would you disclose to Mrs Kong about special education, special school and inclusive education in Singapore? (6 Marks)
Special education is according to Heward (2000) as cited by Lim and Quah (2004), “purposeful intervention”. In Singapore there are many special schools that have the special educations teachers and the right equipment to aid children with special needs. Inclusion is still a fairly new concept to Singapore; however I do believe that little steps are being taken towards full inclusion in childcare centres. Lim and Quah (2004) postulated that “in inclusive education, individuals with disabilities are full-time members of the general education classroom”. For inclusion to work though, parents, teachers and therapists need to work together to form a comprehensive Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for Nicky where the goals and objectives are stated clearly. According to Peterson and Hittie (2003), “in an inclusive school parents are allies, discuss concerns freely and often, and see themselves working as a team. Communicating with the parents builds a partnership between the school and home which benefits the child wholly.
As Nicky develops, depending on his progress, Mrs Kong may need to place him in a special education school. However I feel that it is advisable for Nicky to attend the childcare in the morning and perhaps a special education school in the afternoon. This will give him a chance to interact with typical children where he can learn social competency skills when he is at the childcare centre. When at the special education school, he will learn basic self-help skills.
Down Syndrome Association Singapore – Not Disabled Differently Abled. (2009). What is Down Syndrome?. Retrieved August 12, 2009 from Singapore Down Syndrome Association Website:
Lim, L. & Quah, M.M. (2004). Educating learners with diverse abilities. Singapore: McGraw Hill.
Peterson, J. M. & Hittie, M. M. (2003). Inclusive Teaching: Creating Effective Schools for all Learners. USA: Pearson Education, Inc.
Ho Sze Hwee Eveleen