Friday, August 14, 2009

Pavethra Surendiran (Group A)

. Based on the information given (which was adapted from a recent real incident with additional contributions from experts in the field of early childhood education and special needs), please answer the following questions with justifications (including in-text citation/referencing) for your answers:
(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 make Mrs Kong aware of the down syndrome association in Singapore and the services provided to facilitate their learnings. I would also let Mrs Kong know that just because her child has been diagnosed as having Down Syndrome, he has got no future and cant go far. I would motivate and build Mrs Kong's esteem by saying that although Down Syndrome has got additional medical conditions, they can be treated with the right form of early intervention. Additionally, i would assure her that children who have down syndrome do have a future in Singapore and that they wont be looked down upon. I would urge her to believe in herself and her child so that if she stumbles upon any obstacle, she will be strong enough to overcome it. As mentioned in the National Institute of child health and human development website (2007), children can benefit from occupational therapy, speech therapy and other exercises with regards to fine and gross motor 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)
Before she enrols Nicky in the toddlers class, i would strongly advice her to bring him for further assessments at the hospital to learn more about the severity of his disability and to ask the doctor which setting would be more suitable for him. Not all children benefit from an inclusive setting like a childcare centre and not all stand to gain from a special school setting. Also, if she insists that she wants Nicky to be placed in a childcare setting,then i would allow him on a trial basis to see how he copes and see what i can do to better facilitate and cater to him, not interrupting the learnings of other children. As I am a strong advocate of inclusion, i would do my best to include Nicky in usual classroom activities and monitor him closely. I would also encourage Mrs Kong to practice what we do in the classroom so that it would be more familiar for Nicky and he would be able to adapt to it.

(ii) Nicky's diagnosis of having Down Syndrome. (2 Marks)
I would have a interactive chat session with Mrs Kong with regards to this issue and try my best to answer all her queries and worries about this matter. I would provide her with all the vital information such as brochures and booklets so that she can read up on it and be more aware. I would tell her more about the physical and health conditions of children with down syndrome such as 'heart disease', 'poor muscle tone and loose ligaments' and hearing problems as well ( National Institute of Child Health and Human development, 2007). Additionally, i would find videos of children with down syndrome and let Mrs Kong see them so that she would learn more on how these children live and also to show that they can lead a normal live with the right intervention.

(c) What would you disclose to Mrs Kong about special education, special school and inclusive education in Singapore? (6 Marks)
I would firstly explain the terms to her so that she would be more clear on it. The term special education and special school means ( Heward 2009) " individually planned, specialized, intensive, goal-directed instruction" (p.47). Singapore has special schools that provide this special children with a specialized form of education that is centred for their needs. Lim and Quah ( 2004) mentioned that inclusion is a term which is used to include special children in mainstream settings. As such, i would encourage Mrs Kong to enrol Nicky in a mainstream setting so that he would be able to interact and mix around with different children and also receive professional help and treatment.I would also tell her that Singapore's education system is slowly changing its focus to catering to the needs of special needs children so that they too will be able to benefit.


Lim,L and Quah, M.M (2004) Educating learners with diverse abilities, Singapore: McGraw hill

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2007),. Down Syndrome. Retrieved 14 August 2009 from National Institute of Child Health and Human Development website:

Heward , W.L (2009) Exceptional children : An introduction to special education .9th ed Upper Saddle, NJ : Merrill Prentice hall.

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