a) What would you reveal to Mrs Kong regarding your professional view about children with Down syndrome and their future in Singapore?
As an educator, it is important to recognize all children as individuals and that all have their strengths. Therefore, I would first inform Mrs Kong that Down syndrome is an intellectual disability as a result of an extra chromosome (Lim & Quah, 2004. I would also reassure her that Singapore’s education system is working towards an inclusive learning experience for all children, furthermore, children with Down syndrome are as able as any other children with their own sets of strengths and they are able to live life as normally as any child would. Our government has also been coming up with policies such as Enabling Masterplan 2007-2011. This policy aims to provide education and equal job opportunities for people with special needs, and at the same time, create awareness. (MCYS, 2008)
b) Given the limited information provided, what would you advise Mrs Kong about:
(i) Enrolling Nicky into the centre's toddler class
As the teacher of the toddler class, I would strongly encourage her to enroll Nicky into the centre’s toddler class. It would be beneficial for Nicky to interact with other children while waiting for other assessments, and I would be able to help Mrs Kong by observing Nicky. At the same time, Mrs Kong can also observe to see if Nicky is able to cope with the mainstream school settings. On my part, I would also be implementing different strategies to meet Nicky’s learning needs if required.
(ii) Nicky's diagnosis of having Down Syndrome.
Despite looking at the photo of Nicky who appeared to have no facial signs indicating that she has Down syndrome, I would strongly advise Mrs Kong to bring Nicky for further assessments. I would also inform Mrs Kong on the importance of early intervention as early intervention programmes are designed to reduce the effect of disabilities and sometimes to prevent other developmental delays that the child might have in later life. (Heward, 2009)
(c) What would you disclose to Mrs Kong about special education, special school and inclusive education in Singapore?
Special education is an instruction which is specialized and individually planned that caters to the child’s developmental needs. Often, the use and change of different strategies and/or instructions are based on the student’s performance. (Heward, 2009) Also, to ensure that special education is effective, special schools have facilities such as equipments and special materials, and services such as therapies and assessments.
In Singapore, there are various special schools which cater to Down syndrome, and such schools include MINDS, AWWA special school, Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) and Rainbow Centre. (Lim & Quah, 2004).
An inclusive education means that children with special needs are full time members of the mainstream schools and that curriculum, learning materials and instructional practices are adapted for children with special needs. (Lim & Quah, 2004) In Singapore, there are preschools providing mainstream education while providing for children with Down syndrome and in primary schools, Allied Educators are offered as a service to help children with special needs. Singapore’s education system is still working towards an inclusive education, and this requires acceptance and support from all aspects of the community, such as the government, schools, citizens and most importantly, family.
Tan Wan Xuan (Group B)
Heward, W. L. (2009). Exceptional Children: An introduction to Special Education. New Jersey,
Lim, L., Quah, M. (2004). Educating learners with diverse abilities. Singapore: McGraw-Hill ‘
MCYS. (2008). Enabling masterplan 2007 – 2011. Retrieved 14 August, 2009, from http://www.mcys.gov.sg/enablingmasterplan/