(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 explain to Mrs Kong my understanding of Down Syndrome. According to my understanding, children with Down Syndrome have learning difficulties (Lim & Quah, 2004). Although this may seem to be a barrier, their future in Singapore is still hopeful. I will inform Mrs Kong about very useful centers such as MINDS (Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore) and their services. Currently, there is the availability of Employment Deployment Centres under MINDS which means Nicky will still be able to contribute to society (MINDS, 2005). In fact, as society progresses, Nicky may even have better employment options by her adulthood.
Ultimately, I will encourage Mrs Kong to constantly provide the best for Nicky by being a loving and supportive mother. Mrs Kong upbringing will impact Nicky’s development more than the services provided. With love, support and affection, Nicky will progress well.
(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)
Firstly, I will inform Mrs Kong that I will have to meet and consult with the principal about any policies towards enrolling children with special needs into the school. This is to not to discourage her on enrolling Nicky into the school but to inform her that as a teacher (and a professional), I have to confide with my principal first before taking any action.
I will also assure Mrs Kong that I would definitely encourage her to enroll Nicky into my toddler class. Nicky deserves equal opportunities. Furthermore, as a graduate I have been informed about creating a positive classroom setting for children with special needs. The school may enrich Nicky’s learning experience and I will look forward to working together with Mrs Kong and her family.
Other than enrolling into the school, I will also inform Mrs Kong about services provided by MINDS that may supplement Nicky’s learning. There is a pre-school program available (MINDS, 2005) that Mrs Kong may enroll Nicky into upon the year she turns four years old. The special needs school has services that is more specialized and focused on the area of special needs. A special needs school also has better facilities that revolves around the area of special needs.
Having a combination of services from the special needs school and the child care centre would be favourable.
(ii) Nicky's diagnosis of having Down Syndrome. (2 Marks)
I will deeply encourage Mrs Kong to heed the doctor’s advice and make appointments for further assessment on the diagnosis. Knowing more information about the extent of Down Syndrome would assist other professionals involved (such as therapist, teachers and allied educators) in providing early intervention. Early intervention can help Nicky progress towards betterment and reduce the effects of the disability. (Heward, 2009)
(c) What would you disclose to Mrs Kong about special education, special school and inclusive education in Singapore? (6 Marks)
Special education schools in Singapore are better equipped with the facilities and services that focus on the special need. Currently, there is no formal standard of inclusive education in the early childhood setting but there are formal standards of integration in the primary and secondary schools. Schools are equipped with allied educators and facilities to meet the needs of students with learning and behavioral difficulties (Ministry of Education, Singapore 2009).
Although there are no formal standards of inclusive education on the early childhood setting, there is a gradually growing number of teachers who are educated in the area of special needs. These teachers (graduates from Wheelock College) are likely to advocate for formal standards of inclusive education in the early childhood setting with time.
Mrs Kong may rest assure that Singapore is progressing towards better special and inclusive education. As a teacher, I would advice Mrs Kong to tap on the services provided from both the special education and towards inclusive education schools.
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:
MINDS. (2005). About MINDS employment development centers. Movement for the
intellectually disabled of Singapore. Retrieved August 13, 2009, from
Ministry of Education, Singapore. (2009). Allied educators careers. Retrieved August 13,
2009, from http://www.moe.gov.sg/careers/allied-educators/