Friday, August 14, 2009

Ong Sock Yee (B)


I would empathize with Mrs Kong and tell her that I am glad that she is sharing her deepest concerns with me. I would encourage her to express her feelings, thoughts, anxieties and fears. Then I would gently inform her that Down Syndrome is not an illness hence there is no cure to it but with early intervention and treatment people with Down Syndrome would still be able to lead productive lives. It defined as a chromosomal disorder that is caused by an extra chromosome 21 in the child and there is no exact cause to why it happens. It can happen to anyone regardless of race and economic-background all over the world. Down syndrome mainly causes delays in physical and intellectual development (Down Syndrome Association Singapore, 2009).

In regards to Nicky’s future, I would share with Mrs Kong my belief that, just like any other child, we can’t look at a newborn and say for sure what his or her future holds. I would tell Mrs Kong that a large part of Nicky’s future is within our control hence not all hope is lost. It is because Nicky’s future would depend largely on how supportive and strong the family is. Moreover, I would emphasize the importance of communication, as it would significantly help her whole family to better cope with Nicky’s condition. It is because through communication it would help reduce the feeling of isolation and stress faced by the family, to listen to others experiences, learn new effective learning strategies and most importantly to gather useful information in helping Nicky. This could be done so by consulting with the professionals who are well-versed in field of Down Syndrome and to join the Down Syndrome Parent Support Group offered by the Down Syndrome (Down Syndrome Association of Singapore, 2009).


I would inform her that our school is currently applying to be part of the 18 Integrated Childcare Centre Programme (ICCP) (Centre for Enabled Living, 2009). This shows that our centre is confident in providing quality education for children with and without special needs. Hence, I would encourage Mrs Kong to enroll Nicky into our centre, while I would do my part to ensure that I am well-equipped to deal with Nicky’s condition, in terms of my belief towards inclusion, my knowledge and teaching strategies. I would explain to Mrs Kong that if Nicky were to be enrolled in our centre, I would adopt the Individualized Education Program (IEP), for instance I would focus on developing Nicky’s self-help skills that would be beneficial for his future. Moreover, I would adopt the Individualized Family Service Program (IFSP) that requires strong collaboration and commitment from the professionals, Nicky’s family and myself.

Additionally, I would also engage in consistent assessments on all aspects of Nicky’s development that would be shared with Mrs Kong. After about 6 months, we would check if Nicky is happy in school and how he had benefited from the curriculum that is planned with Nicky’s and other children’s interests in mind. If the results are positive we would continue to let Nicky stay in the centre, if not further assessments and discussion would be made to decide on alternative educational institute. Furthermore, I would also remind Mrs Kong that it is going to be an on-going learning journey that would encounter many challenges to be overcome by all parties involved including Nicky, Mrs Kong and family, myself, and other professionals.


It is because Nicky was born looking like any other child, Mrs Kong and family expected Nicky to be like his other siblings. Hence when Nicky was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, the family had difficulty coming to terms with it. However, it is stated that children with Down syndrome have different symptoms depending on the severity/scale of the disability. Despite, not having facial features resembling to a person with Down Syndrome, there are other physical characteristics such as, short stubby fingers, limbs and torsos that may reveal other wise (Lim & Quah, 2004).
I would strongly encourage Mrs Kong to bring Nicky for further assessments to be done by the professionals. It is because early diagnosis and early intervention that consists of educational, nutritional, child care, and family supports which would help to reduce the effects of disabilities (Heward, 2006). Moreover, as Down Syndrome is also associated with medical conditions such as, congenital heart defects, leukemia, hearing loss, eye disease and so on. Early detection and treatment of health complications is important in preventing and worsening of the condition (Singapore Down Syndrome Association, 2009).


Firstly, I would share with Mrs Kong my personal philosophy on education, that each child is a unique individual who requires their own special assistance. Hence, it is my duty as a teacher to be sensitive to each child’s needs and to provide what i can to help children and children with disabilities to flourish including Nicky.

Secondly, I would proceed to define special education and inclusive education. Special Education is defined as a customized educational programmes and training for different disability groups. The programmes are aimed at developing the potential of pupils and helping them to be independent, self-supporting and contributing members of society (Ministry Of Education, 2009). There are some special schools in Singapore for Down Syndrome such as, the RAINBOW centre, METTA school and Rainbow centre. Each school caters to different age group and range of IQ level. Inclusive Education is whereby the necessary support is provided for students to become full-time members in classroom who participates meaningfully both physically and mentally (Lim & Quah, 2004).

Thirdly, I would inform with Mrs Kong that the Singapore education system currently practices more of integration than inclusion. I would then explain the difference between integration and inclusion. According to Harman, (n,d.). Integration is effort made to help the child with disability to fit into the school’s curriculum which serves to increase the opportunity for the child’s participation. Inclusion is about helping each and every child through accepting and celebrating diversity within the classroom. In an inclusive education the school would go all out to serve the needs of all children that ensure full participation from both children and children with special needs.

Even though I see myself as an advocator for inclusion, I would also advise Mrs Kong that each child should be placed in the environment that would most suit the needs of the child, be it in special education or inclusive education. This depends largely on the child’s severity of the disability. Ultimately, I firmly believe that Nicky should be given the opportunity to be included in mainstream classroom. This is supported by Down syndrome association of Singapore (2009) who believes that academic and social inclusion for children with Down syndrome is possible within mainstream schools, given the appropriate accommodations and supports.The local government had also supported inclusion through many programs this includes, the introduction of allied educators in mainstream primary and secondary schools, providing additional fundings, and training for teachers in mainstream schools (Ministry of Education, 2009). I believe that in time to come, inclusion would shift away from its current state of being highly talked and heard yet hardly witnessed. I would then encourage Mrs Kong and her family to stay strong and optimistic in order to continue to help Nicky create a future of her own. Lastly, I would assure Mrs Kong that I would always be there to provide support like how she would do for Nicky.


Centre for Enabled Living. (2009). Young children: Integrated child care programme Retrieved on August 14, 2009, from

Down Syndrome Association of Singapore. (2009). What you need to know about Down Syndrome. Retrieved on August 14, 2009, from

Down Syndrome Association of Singapore. (2009). Children services. Retrieved on August 14, 2009, from

Harman, B. (n,d.). Inclusion and integration is there a difference. Retrieved on August 14, 2009, from

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: McGraw Hill.

Ministry of Education. (2009). Special education in Singapore. Retrieved on August 14, 2009, from

Ministry of Education. (2009). Support for Children with Special Educational Needs. Retrieved on August 14, 2009, from
By Ong Sock Yee GROUP B

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