(a) What would you reveal to Mrs Kong regarding your professional view about children with Down Syndrome and their future in Singapore? (4 Marks)
Children with Down Syndrome are resulted by some prenatal conditions relating with mental retardation. Children with Down Syndrome are observed to display characteristic such as they learn slower and faced more challenges in academic areas (Lim & Quah, 2004). According to Heward (2009), Children with intellectual disability portray poor memory, attention, interest, communication skills and motivation. Also, children with mild Down Syndrome may not have much physical differences from other children. With the characteristics of the children stated, they required addition help and individualized program to be differentiated to their needs.
However, they are able to perform basic routine and self care. There are special schools set up like Movement for the Intellectually Disables (MINDS), Association for Persons with Special Needs and others which can be used as resource, reference or support centres. There are government policies like Singapore 21 social agenda which emphasize greatly on pedagogy for differences to cater to maximize individual’s potential in Singapore (Lim & Quah, 2004). Besides, Lim & Quah (2004) shared that Singapore is advancing towards more employment options for people with mild intellectual disability. As a graduate from Wheelock College, I gained awareness and will advocate that there are more trained teachers in areas of special needs; there are more specialists to reach out for advice and to work with. Besides, the government is trying various ways to increase awareness of inclusion which is to start early intervention young. It starts from the acceptance from parents, teacher and community which will be beneficial to child’s future.
(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 advice Mrs Kong to enrol Nicky into the centre’s toddler class. It will be advantageous that parents and teachers to work together to assess and observe child’s development before concluding child to a special needs school. Teachers will plan Individualized Education Plans for child and work closely with doctor to chart child’s growth. Although, many children from special schools were from mainstream school before they were referred by the mainstream teacher (Lim & Quah, 2004). In addition, it helps create awareness of inclusion in the community. By putting Nicky into mainstream school,, enables all children to learn from each other and to contribute to a project based on each ability level(Peterson & Hittie, 2003). This in turns enable child to feel belonged in a community which helps in his life-long learning.
(ii) Nicky's diagnosis of having Down Syndrome. (2 Marks)
Nicky’s diagnosis of having Down Syndrome will be best done as early for early intervention and child’s future. Purposeful and early intervention may help prevent the symptoms to get worse; it may remedial the condition through specific instructions to enable child to succeed in certain area. Lastly, compensatory intervention provides a substitute skill for child to carry out a task. Therefore, early diagnosis helps child to build on the strengths and weakness.
(c) What would you disclose to Mrs Kong about special education, special school and inclusive education in Singapore? (6 Marks)
First I will share with her on the definition of special education. It means providing support services to the child in the mainstream classroom rather than adapting the child to the education system (Wood, 2006). Here, teachers will provide the support services such as adapted instruction, materials, methods and program catered to child’s knowledge and skills (Heward, 2009). At the same time, teachers will work with specialists and parents.
There are some special schools in Singapore for Down Syndrome such as the two mentioned above and Grace Orchard School, METTA school and Rainbow centre. Each school caters to different age group and range of IQ level. For instance, METTA school provides special education to children with mild disability between ages 6 and 18 with an IQ range of 50 to 70.
Inclusive education in Singapore is often seen as integration which child is in mainstream school but little support is given and child has to adapt to the education. In my perspective, preschool and kindergarten may be seen easier to modify and adapt their curriculum to suit children with disabilities. In primary and secondary school level, children with learning disabilities like ADHD and physical impairments. Often, the schools require children with minimum IQ level to accomplish the academic standards.
Heward, W. L., (2009). Exceptional children: An introduction to Special Education (9th ed.). Upper Saddle, N.J: Merrill Prentice Hall.
Lim, L., & Quah, M. M. (2004). Educating learners with diverse abilities. Singapore: McGraw Hill
Peterson, J.M., & Hittie, M. M. (2004). Inclusive teaching: Creating effective schools for all learners. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Woods, J. W., (2006). Teaching students in inclusive settings : Adapting and accommodating instruction(5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Merrill/Prentice Hall
Yeoh Hui Ping Group A