(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 tell Mrs Kong about Down Syndrome itself first, and the fact that it is not a disease, but rather, a chromosomal condition " in which extra genetic material causes delays in the way a child develops, both mentally and physically." (Kidshealth, 2009) Also, as the National Down Syndrome Society (2009) states, all people with Down Syndrome have delays in their cognitive abilities, but it is usually mild to moderate and all of them still have their individual abilities and skills. I will also tell Mrs Kong that I strongly believe children with Down Syndrome are still very capable of being independent contributors to society when they grow up and are able to go to school, get a job and make decisions about their own life in many ways. I also believe that every child has their right to education and Mrs Kong should make sure her child goes for early intervention so that more can be done to help the child work on her strengths and improve on areas of concern.
(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 advise Mrs Kong to enrol Nicky into the centre's toddler class as the Toddler and Senior Teacher. This is because children with special needs also benefit from social interaction with other children and I believe that with the teacher's guidance and support, Nicky can achieve to the fullest of her potential. Also, as the Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports (2009) states, early intervention will help to "increase the developmental growth potential of the child during the child's most critical development phase." As a teacher, I would also assure her that I will do my best as a teacher to assist Nicky in developing to her fullest potential by planning the appropriate curriculum, as well as setting appropriate goals.
(ii) Nicky's diagnosis of having Down Syndrome. (2 Marks)
I would advise Mrs Kong to set an appointment for the diagnosis as soon as possible as the waiting list for doctors offering such services is usually quite long. As a blood test was done, it is quite certain that Nicky has Down Syndrome. Also, I would also remind her of the importance of early intervention, and a diagnosis would be very helpful, as after that, we would be more certain of the severity of the condition and be able to plan accordingly for her education. Also, after the diagnosis is done, an Independent Education Plan (IEP) for Nicky could be planned so as to set a common goal for everyone who would be involved in her education. I would also give her some resources, for example, the Down Syndrome Association of Singapore, and National Down Syndrome Society so that she can know more about Down Syndrome, as well as possibly find a support group that would guide her, share their experiences and help her husband and her to better accept the situation
(c) What would you disclose to Mrs Kong about special education, special school and inclusive education in Singapore? (6 Marks)
I would disclose to Mrs Kong that inclusive education is rather new in singapore, but special education is not new to Singapore and there are quite a few special schools in Singapore that would cater to Nicky when she grows older. MINDS (Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore) is one significant organisation that has quite a number of school that cater to children who have intellectual disabilities (Lim & Quah, 2004)
Before Nicky is diagnosed for the severity of her condition, I would advise Mrs Kong to do a research on the various educational institutes she could go to and consider which path she would want Nicky to take. I would inform her that if Nicky chose to be included into a mainstream, she would probably have specialist or a special needs inclusive educator to assist her in school, but if she went into a special needs school, the environment and curriculum would entirely be catered to children with special needs. However, this would mean that she would have less interaction with children in mainstream schools.
If Nicky's diagnosis shows that she is not severly affected, I would strongly encourage her to consider letting Nicky go into inclusive education. However, for now, I would ask her to enroll Nicky into the toddler class until she could possibly go for special education programs. I would also let her know about special education programmes that Nicky could possibly attend for 3 hours a day, while going to a mainstream preschool, as that would probably be the most beneficial to Nicky as long as the specialists, the mainstream teacher, the special education teacher and parents all work together to ensure they are working towards a common goal for Nicky.
As stated by the Down Syndrome Association (Singapore)(2009), "Early intervention, lifelong education and training and inclusion with the mainstream is a holistic approach to managing Down syndrome."
Down Syndrome Association(Singapore). (2009). Retrieved August 13, 2009, from All you need to know about down syndrome:
KidsHealth. (2009). Down Syndrome. Retrieved August 13, 2009, from, What is Down Syndrome: http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/genetic/down_syndrome.html
Lim, L. & Quah, M. M. (2004). Educating learners with diverse abilities. Singapore: McGraw
Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports (2009). Retrieved August 13, 2009, from Education: http://app.mcys.gov.sg/web/indv_disability_education.asp
National Down Syndrome Society. (2009). Retrieved August 13, 2009, from Down Syndrome Fact Sheet:
Lee Cheau Ling Grace, Group B