1(a) What would you reveal to Mrs Kong regarding your professional view about children with Down Syndrome and their future in Singapore? (4 Marks)
Firstly, I would acknowledge Mrs Kong's concerns and explain to her what Down Syndrome is all about. According to Down Syndrome Association Singapore (2009), Down syndrome is a genetic condition where the baby has extra chromosome 21. Such individual are born with three sets of chromosomes 21 instead of two. They also have a significant facial contour which usually appears flat. For instance, the back of the head would be flat, the nose would be flat, their eyes are slanting upwards, their tongue juts out or they have short hands and fingers (Singapore Health Promotion Board, 2009). I would also be honest in informing Mrs Kong that there are no treatments for Down Syndrome but it is essential for early intervention to improve on Nicky’s life.
After which, I would share with her my view regarding the future of children with Down Syndrome in Singapore. I will start off by introducing an organization in Singapore that provides services to meet the needs of such individuals- the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled Singapore (MINDS) schools. MINDS "cater to the educational, vocational, social and welfare needs of the intellectually disabled." (MINDS, 2005). This is because, their organization runs special schools, hostels and homes for both adult and children, Employment Development Centres (EDCs) as well as Training and Development Centres (TDCs).Thus, I would assure Mrs Kong that children with Down Syndrome will get necessary assistance throughout their lives to help them function better in the society.
(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 explain to Mrs Kong that I need discuss with the school about enrolling Nicky in the centre as it is a school’s decision and not mine alone. Nonetheless, I would welcome Nicky in the centre’s toddler class as I believe in equal chances for all children. Modifications and adaptations to the curriculum can be done to meet the needs of every child, including Nicky’s. Necessary changes and support can be provided to ensure that he is able to participate effectively in class. This can be supported by Lim and Quah (2004), it is necessary to provide support for children with disabilities so as they are able to be engage in classroom activities in a meaningful way. I would advise Mrs Kong that we need to work closely in exchanging information about Nicky to find ways or solutions to help him function better in class. Along with mainstream childcare, Mrs Kong could also consider enrolling Nicky in a special school as the environment and services are more focused in meeting the needs of children with disability. Thus, Nicky will get the exposure to both mainstream and special education settings. Which I believe, will prepare him for the challenges in life that he might face in the future.
(ii) Nicky's diagnosis of having Down Syndrome. (2 Marks)
As a teacher, I am aware of the importance of early intervention. As mentioned in Heward (2006), early interventions are "designed to reduce the effects of disabilities or prevent the occurrence of learning and developmental problems later in life for children presumed to be at risk for such problems."(p. 558). Therefore, I would encourage Mrs Kong to make appointments for Nicky’s assessments. This is to ensure that she gets valuable feedbacks and suggestions from professionals in which she is able to take necessary steps to help her child.
(c) What would you disclose to Mrs Kong about special education, special school and inclusive education in Singapore? (6 Marks)
An example of an organization that provides special education in special schools is the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled Singapore (MINDS). Their schools include- Woodlands Gardens School, Fernvale Gardens School, Towner Gardens School and Lee Kong Chian Gradens Schools. The curricular in these schools are modified to meet the needs of children with special needs. ‘Areas of learning include language communication, functional academics such as time telling and money value, self-help skills and personal grooming, social competency and pre-vocational skills’ (MINDS, 2005). Therefore, Mrs Kong can be assured that the availability of professionals, services and equipments in special education will aid in providing necessary assistance to children with special needs and their families. Such organizations will serve as a purpose to develop each special needs child’s capacity to his or her fullest.
I would be honest to Mrs Kong by stressing to her that, a lot of work is needed to be done to include children with special needs. She needs to be aware that Singapore has not practice full inclusion just yet. Even so, we are progressing towards it. For instance, Singapore has allied teachers working in mainstream schools to provide learning and behavioral support in the education of children with special needs. (Ministry of Education, Singapore 2009).
I would also share my beliefs that teachers are the main factor in making inclusion successful. Lim and Quah (2004), affirms that inclusive teachers play an important role in achieving inclusive settings. This is because, their attitudes, practices and values regarding differences can have a great impact on children who are in their inclusive classrooms. I believe that Singapore is grooming more teachers who are supportive of inclusion. Hence, with appropriate support system and teachers who are wiling to make changes to inclusion, I am sure that full-inclusion programs can be more evident in the future.
Health Promotion Board. (2009). Down Syndrome. Retrieved August 14, 2009
Heward, W. L., (2006). Exceptional children: An introduction to Special Education (8th ed.).
Upper Saddle, NJ: Merril Prentice Hall
Lim, L., & Quah, M. M. (2004). Educating Learners with Diverse Abilities.
Special Education in Singapore. Asia, Singapore: McGraw-Hill Education.
MINDS (2005). Movement for the Intellectually Disabled Singapore. Retrieved
August 14, 2009, from http://www.minds.org.sg/
MINDS (2005). Movement for the Intellectually Disabled Singapore. Introduction to Special
Education School. Retrieved August 14, 2009, from http://www.minds.org.sg
Ministry of Education, Singapore. (2009). Allied educators careers. Retrieved August 14,
2009, from http://www.moe.gov.sg/careers/allied-educators/
Singapore Down Syndrome Association. (2009). What is Down Syndrome. Retrieved August 14,
2009, from http://downsyndrome-singapore.org/content/view/34/111/
Done by: Nur Azlina Bte Subari (Group B)