(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 able to take care of their own basic self- care and daily living needs and be independent in the community. According to Lim and Quah (2004), employment options for people with down syndrome may appear limited, however there are many jobs available with appropriate training and support. Children with down syndrome need to be given opportunity to interact with people and the environment as well as being taught appropriate social and interpersonal skills and self-management skills.
(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 advisable for her to enroll Nicky into the centre’s toddler class if there are vacancy and appropriate teacher-child ratio as Nicky needs more attention. As a toddler class teacher, knowing about Nicky’s case I could plan curriculum that focus on functional skills and provide systematic instruction. Parent-teacher partnership is also a very important factor in benefiting Nicky and other children.
(ii) Nicky's diagnosis of having Down Syndrome. (2 Marks)
It is beneficial for her to further diagnose Nicky in order to begin early intervention. Early intervention benefits children with disabilities as it reduces the effects and prevents the development of secondary disabilities or problems for developing, and maximizes child’s potential and learning as well as minimizes family stresses (Lim and Quah, 2004)
(c) What would you disclose to Mrs Kong about special education, special school and inclusive education in Singapore? (6 Marks)
Special education as according to Heward (200) as cited in Lim and Quah (2004), is a purposeful intervention to meet needs of exceptional student with three levels, preventive, remedial and compensatory. Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) offer pre-school programme for children with down syndrome. However, the minimum age to enter the programme is 4 years old. The pre-school programme for children 4 to 6 years old has a variety of activities which teach basic self-help skills, fine and gross motor skills, basic vocabulary and pre-writing skills. The teachers are able to attend to individual needs due to the small teacher-child ratio and the teachers are specialized and qualified. (MINDS, 2005)
Therefore, she should enroll Nicky to the toddler class and consider if she should also enroll Nicky to MINDS when he was four. I believe that it would be more beneficial for the child to attend both mainstream and special school. However, if he made improvements and are able to perform well in mainstream school, she need not send him to MINDS. Singapore is moving towards inclusion and there are various schools with teachers who has knowledge and skills of children with disabilities.
Lim, L., & Quah M. M. (2004) Educating Learners with Diverse Abilities. Singapore: McGraw Hill.
MINDS (2005). MINDS Schools Programmes. Retrieved August 12, 2009, from Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) website: http://www.minds.org.sg/schools/programs.php
Done By: Eileen Tan Yi Ling, Group B