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Ultimate Guide to Inclusive SPED Schools, Early Intervention Centres & Special Needs Schools in Singapore

special needs schools in singapore - DCIS
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Looking for an inclusive or SPED school, early intervention centre or special needs schools in Singapore? Consult our list to find the right one for your child

Special education schools in Singapore are part of a quickly evolving landscape, as 2019 marked the first year that Singaporean students with moderate-to-severe special needs were required to attend school under the government’s Compulsory Education framework. These days, younger learners and non-Singaporean students also have plenty of options for special education preschools and early intervention centres that can help differently-abled children thrive in supportive and safe environments – Singapore has 19 government-funded SPED schools, too! Wondering where to find a SPED school, inclusive preschool or an early intervention programme that will suit your child’s learning needs? We’ve rounded up a wide range of special needs schools in Singapore – this includes local and international schools, preschools and early prevention programmes – which cater to Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and non-Singaporean students of differing abilities unless stated otherwise. Keep scrolling for all the deets!

         Read More: Dyslexia in Singapore: How I helped my daughter learn to read

Jump to:
Special Needs Schools & Inclusive Schools in Singapore
Special Needs Preschools in Singapore
Early Intervention Centres
Frequently Used Terms for Special Needs Learning in Singapore

Special Needs Schools & Institutions in Singapore

special needs schools in singapore - Integrated International School

Integrated International School (IIS)

Integrated International School offers two teaching approaches – one for mainstream students who benefit from their diverse educational expertise and supportive environment, and the other for students with individualised learning needs who benefit from the additional resources and learning support. “Our tailored international programme is based on the Australian curriculum and our teaching style takes a unique, contemporary and collaborative teaching approach – The Von Auer Collaborative Teaching Approach™ – which I developed. It’s an integrated and holistic approach, which is adapted to each learner’s strengths,” says founder Dr. Vanessa von Auer. “Our teachers work closely and collaboratively with learning support specialists and parents to design Individualised Education Plans (IEPs) for students. Some of the students who have successfully graduated from IIS were on the autism spectrum or struggled with learning disorders, and many have, since then, transitioned into mainstream settings.”
If a student is struggling academically, behaviourally, emotionally or socially, teachers are highly trained to identify when they may need additional support. Their highly specialised support staff include a team of experienced behavioural therapists, counsellors, psychologists, occupational therapists as well as speech and language pathologists. All of IIS’ staff undergo frequent training throughout the year to ensure they are up to date with best practices. Facilities at IIS include an occupational therapy gym, multi-sensory Snoezelen room, counselling suites, speech and ABA therapy suites, a library and computer lab and more. They are also working towards introducing the British International Early Years Curriculum (IEYC), International Primary Curriculum (IPC), and the International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC) curriculum to the programme for 2023.

Integrated International School, 41 Sunset Way, #01-01, Singapore 597071, [email protected] or [email protected], Tel: (+65) 6466 4475, www.iis.edu.sg


The Winstedt School

With an ongoing track record of success in educating students from all walks of life, The Winstedt School’s extensive in-house network of specialists and support staff deliver a holistic approach to the developmental and intellectual needs of children aged 4 to 18. This inclusive school in Singapore aims to create learning opportunities for students with a variety of learning needs. Their offerings include the SEED (Readiness) Programme which is designed for students who are not yet ready to access the mainstream curriculum and need extra support and resources. It provides a 2:8 teacher to student ratio with a dedicated special education needs teacher and a behavioural therapist in the classroom. Some schools may offer ad hoc therapies that are conducted in isolation from the student’s overall classroom and learning pathway, but this school’s specialists work strategically in tandem, not in isolation, for students. At Winstedt, each student is included, celebrated, and supported. Their teachers, therapists, and psychologists have advanced qualifications or certifications in special education and extensive experience in working with diverse learners. Winstedt also provides their teachers with ongoing training in multi-sensory teaching methodologies and their specialists with the right skills to engage and support students’ academic success.

The Winstedt School, 1208 Upper Boon Keng Road, Singapore 387312, [email protected], Tel: (+65) 6715 5373, www.winstedt.edu.sg


special needs schools singapore - Thomson Kids Specialised Learning

Thomson Kids Specialised Learning

Catering to kids aged 6 to 12, Thomson Kids Specialised Learning is a centre for children who have ADHD, autism, dyslexia, language delays and learning difficulties. This special needs centre offers structured educational programmes that are derived from research-proven teaching methods, and helps students with special needs maximise their learning potential. This better equips students to participate and progress in the mainstream educational environment. Helmed by Frances Yeo, a child psychologist with more than 20 years of clinical experience, the centre has a dedicated team of experts, including special needs curriculum writers and teachers as well as a speech and language therapist. Their teachers are experienced in teaching preschool or primary school students and have undergone in-house training to ensure they are familiar with the Thomson Kids curriculum. Many of their teachers have also attended courses in teaching students with learning needs. Thomson Kids’ curriculum is based on the MOE syllabus but taught using specialised material and teaching methods, equipping children with exam skills to tackle school-based assignments. Their lessons incorporate multisensory teaching approaches, and their Specialised English Programme uses hands-on activities to make phonics, morphology, comprehension and writing fun for children. Thomson Kids also has a Specialised Chinese Programme, which increases students’ motivation to learn the language while developing essential skills such as character recognition, stroke order and reading. They also design learning games using technology and apps.

New students can use promo code SassyMama to get a $100 Welcome Voucher for specialised English and Chinese language programmes. This promo is not stackable with other promotions, offers or privileges, and a one-time registration fee of $75 and a $25 term material fee apply. Programme T&Cs apply. Valid until 30 June 2022.

Thomson Kids Specialised Learning, 101 Thomson Road, #02-08 United Square Shopping Mall, Singapore 307591, [email protected], Tel: (+65) 6582 8188, www.thomsonkids.com


special needs school in singapore - All Hands Together

All Hands Together School for Special Educational Needs

All Hands Together School is a boutique, inclusive school for children between 2 and 18 who have different learning styles and need individualised support. The school works closely with the child’s family and therapists to ensure everything is child-centered. This special educational needs school in Singapore provides personalised academic support that’s paired up with group sessions to foster socio-emotional development, life skills and independence. Every child has their own Individualised Education Programme (IEP) and a Case Manager who oversees their progress and development through a combination of formal assessments and a dynamic review process. At All Hands Together, they embrace differences and inspire learning. In addition to optional onsite speech, occupational and music therapy, All Hands Together also has extracurricular activities on Fridays to introduce children to new hobbies. The school campus offers access to a large playing field and the beautiful outdoors. The campus is fully accessible to children with impaired mobility and will soon boast a sensory gym space. All Hands Together’s early intervention programme caters to kids aged 2 to 7 and is in line with the MOE’s NEL framework. Lessons are purposeful, multi-sensory sessions that are fun and engaging, and each one is developmentally appropriate and individualised.

All Hands Together School for Special Educational Needs, The Yards, 396 Joo Chiat Place, Singapore 428079, [email protected], Tel: (+65) 6803 5012, www.allhandstogether.com


special needs schools in singapore - Dover Court International School

Dover Court International School

Dover Court International School (DCIS) is an inclusive British school that accepts children with autism, ADHD and other learning, developmental and social and emotional needs. This inclusive school supports children through their unique Pathway structure and personalised approach. Classes are small and the curriculum is an adapted one for those enrolled in Early Intervention right through to Year 13. Their teachers and specialist staff include Educational Psychologies, SENCo, speech and language therapists, and occupational and physical therapists. DCIS’s English National Curriculum and ASDAN curriculum offerings can also be personalised to suit different learners. Their flexible structure allows for integration, twinning and transfer between pathways with mainstream classes, which means that children are always placed in the class which best supports them. Specialist classrooms and spaces as well as a new suite of rooms are being built in time for August 2022, too.

Dover Court International School, 301 Dover Road, Singapore 139644, [email protected], Tel: (+65) 6775 7664, www.dovercourt.edu.sg


special needs schools singapore - Dynamics International School

Dynamics International School (DIS)

A private boutique school with affordable fees, DIS caters to children aged 5 to 12 years, with world-class mainstream and special education curriculum for preschool and primary education. Their strengths lie in their safe and nurturing learning environment and the dedicated, personalised attention provided to students. The curriculum here includes a mainstream track and a special education support track. For students who need additional support, they provide easy access to additional services with a team of in-house experts (early intervention programme, speech therapists, occupational therapists and educational therapists). This may be done via pull-out sessions (children access additional services outside of the classroom) or via in-class support (additional support is provided during learning blocks). DIS additionally provides three different tiers of support for students who need additional help to access the curriculum. The school has students with ADHD, autism, specific learning difficulties and global developmental delay (GDD) amongst other needs, and teachers here are trained to work with students who are neurotypical and atypical. Other than being passionate about working and learning alongside students, their teachers also have the opportunity to learn and be trained by an array of in-house therapists, to help them work with their students better.

Get 50% off enrolment fees, a 75% proximity discount off enrolment fees or a 20% sibling discount off programme fees! Limited time only. Contact the school for more info.

Dynamics International School, 583 Orchard Road, #13-03, Forum The Shopping Mall, Singapore 238884, [email protected], Tel: (+65) 6100 9235, www.dynamics.school


The GUILD International College

The GUILD International College is Singapore’s first inclusive college for secondary and post-secondary.  This private art and trade-based college is dedicated to helping youths transition into adult life and provide a memorable college experience similar to all other junior colleges and universities. This special needs school in Singapore offers three programmes based on the Victorian Education Framework from Australia. Their Pathways programme caters to students aged 12 to 16 and offers two learning routes – skills-based or subject-based learning. The Transition programme is for students aged 16 and above and is geared towards independent living skills and transition to further education and work training. Lastly, their Short Certificate programmes are six months long with a focus on skills training for transition to work. The GUILD also offers vocational training programmes from ASDAN UK. Small class sizes and personalised attention, plus individualised learning plans, help students thrive, and the teaching staff are SEN-trained and use a teaching approach that caters to each child’s needs; students also receive support from a therapist. The GUILD also work closely with several organisations that provide support for teachers and students in areas such as dance, music, art, speech and language therapy, counselling, life coaching and more. The College is receiving enquiries from families who believe that their children have the potential to succeed in mainstream schooling given the appropriate support, and is considering the viability of creating this track.

The GUILD International College, 318A Tanglin Road, Phoenix Park, Singapore 247979, [email protected], Tel: (+65) 6235 8240, www.theguild.edu.sg


Melbourne Specialist International School (MSIS)

Children with diverse needs like autism, ADHD, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other genetic disorders – between the ages of 3 and 12 – are welcome at this special needs school in Singapore. The curriculum and therapy services at MSIS are performing and visual arts-based ones, which allows students to express themselves freely – especially in ways where words aren’t always possible. All lessons are conducted using the arts, which is in line with Australia’s Victorian Curriculum F-10. Additionally, MSIS offers an Early Intervention Programme to lay the foundation for learning. The school’s teaching staff are supported by professionals in occupational therapy, speech therapy and psychology, and also collaborate with specialist teachers in music, dance, drama and art – an element that allows them to learn and improve their teaching skills.

Melbourne Specialist International School, 75C Loewen Road, Dempsey, Singapore 248853, Tel: (+65) 6634 8891, www.msis.edu.sg


Eden School

This special education school in Singapore has a curriculum that helps prepare young learners on the spectrum for healthy adult life. Its curriculum has been designed with a team of dedicated teachers and ARC(S) autism consultants, which will allow children to learn how to care for their personal needs, participate in social interactions in the outside world, transition between different activities and locations, and undertake meaningful jobs that allow them to use their skills and abilities. This special needs school in Singapore has facilities that are designed to facilitate maximum learning and engagement, giving students space to practice what they have learnt in class. It’s also surrounded by lush greenery, ensuring a calm and serene environment. Eden School is currently only open to Singaporean students.

Eden School, 101 Bukit Batok West Avenue 3 Singapore 659168, Tel: (+65) 6265 7400, www.edenschool.edu.sg


Metta School

Offering special education for students between the ages of seven and 21 with mild intellectual disability (IQ level: 70 – 50) and/or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Metta School has five main programmes for different age groups and profiles. This SPED school is supported by MOE, and aims to help students learn to be self-reliant and empower them to contribute to society, so they may live meaningful lives.

Metta School, 30 Simei Street 1, Singapore 529949, Tel: (+65) 6788 5800, www.mettaschool.edu.sg


Pathlight School

The first autism-focused school in Singapore, Pathlight blends the mainstream Singapore curriculum with life readiness skills for learners aged between seven and 18. Its programmes are designed for students on the spectrum or with related conditions that can cognitively access mainstream academic curriculum with additional support. This is given in the form of smaller class sizes, special accommodations and a teaching staff that is trained in autism. Pathlight School primarily serves Singaporeans, but those with PR status may apply if they fit the requirements given by MOE.

Pathlight School, multiple locations, www.pathlight.org.sg


Singapore American School

Widely praised by parents for its personalised learning approach, Singapore American School aims to give every student full access to whatever academic and social support they need to succeed. In addition to fully accessible classrooms, SAS also provides learning support teachers, counsellors and speech-language pathologists who collaborate daily to meet the needs of every student across the school. While the majority of extra support is provided on campus, SAS does partner on an individual basis with extra support providers, such as occupational therapists. Teams regularly work in collaboration to review student progress via classroom assessments and standardised assessments, as well as observational data. SAS also has four licensed school psychologists to ensure that all student learning needs are met.

Singapore American School, 40 Woodlands Street 41, Singapore 738547, Tel: (+65) 6363 3403, www.sas.edu.sg


St. Andrew’s Autism School (SAAS)

This special education school in Singapore offers a comprehensive developmental curriculum and works with therapists who offer intervention in attention, regulation and motor skills. Additionally, SAAS‘ team of psychologists and social workers address students’ sensory and regulatory needs, while guiding and training caregivers and family members to create a conducive learning environment. SAAS maintains a person-centred approach when it comes to devising a suitable individualised education or transition plan (IEP/ITP) for each student, with an emphasis on social-emotional learning, communication, functional literacy and numeracy, and daily living and vocational skills. Each domain is complemented by expressive arts, adaptive physical education and co-curricular activities. The school is open to Singaporeans and PRs only.

St. Andrews Autism School (SAAC), 1 Elliot Road, Singapore 458686, Tel: (+65) 6517 3800, www.saac.org.sg/st-andrews-autism-school


Special Needs Schools in Singapore - Towner Garden School

MINDS Towner Gardens School

Catering to learners between ages 7 and 18, this special education school offers language and science, collaborations with mainstream schools and a vocational learning programme. MINDS Towner Gardens School also has an ASD programme that helps build a structured learning environment with ASD strategies to boost learning for students. In addition to a robust co-curricular activities list – think arts, Scouts programmes, sports, gardening and music – the school also has a list of impressive facilities such as a mixed-reality dreamscape, domestic science space, multimedia lab and autism-friendly classrooms.

MINDS Towner Gardens School, 1B, Lengkong Lima Singapore 417557, Tel: (+65) 6446 2612, www.minds.org.sg/for-children/schools/tgs


Special Needs Preschools in Singapore

Modern Montessori International Katong by The Growing Academy

The Montessori-based special needs programme is only available at its Katong campus and aims to promote inclusive learning for children with behavioural issues, autism, ADHD and global developmental delays. The focus lies in instilling independence and self-awareness, and in developing a child’s autonomy. The preschool offers playgroup classes (18 months to three years), Nursery 1 (three and four years). Nursery 2 (four and five years), K1 (five to six years) and K2 (six and seven years), with a bilingual programme that focuses on Mandarin and English. This ECDA-approved childcare institution follows the vision of its sister school, The Growing Academy (see below), where learning is done through experiences. As such, its team of educators introduce projects that allow students to create their own opportunities to improve decision-making skills, build confidence and refine their social skills. Its team of ECDA-approved childcare teachers and therapists are based in the preschool for added support. Programmes are available for subsidies.

Modern Montessori International Katong by The Growing Academy, 865 Mountbatten Road, #05-44, Singapore 437844, Tel: (+65) 9424 1961, www.modern-montessori.com/preschool


Bright Path Preschool

Bright Path Preschool is an inclusive preschool for children of differing abilities that offers early intervention and specialised therapies while taking a child-centred approach. Recognising that some kids just learn a little differently, lessons are customised and adapted to each child’s individual needs to help them achieve independence and academic success. Bright Path’s advisory team has decades of experience working with children on their developmental needs. The school also has a bilingual psychologist on staff with more than 10 years of clinical experience in Asia. The school works with occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, and psychologists to bring out the best in every child.

Bright Path Preschool, 55 Fairways Drive, Singapore 286846, Tel: (+65) 6873 1777, www.brightpath.com.sg


Dyslexia Association of Singapore

Dyslexia Association of Singapores Preschool Intervention Programme meets once a week for two hours. Children are taught in small groups by a trained special needs educator who is especially focused to prepare children for primary school, both academically and socially. DAS’s Main Literacy Programme is a group class for children who are diagnosed with dyslexia that also meets twice a week. (Note: a formal educational psychological assessment with a dyslexia diagnosis is required for admission to the programme). This group class works on language and vocabulary, phonics, morphology, grammar, writing and reading comprehension. DAS also offers one-on-one tutors capable of creating custom lesson plans for individual children, as well as assessment services to confirm whether a dyslexia diagnosis. DAS is a registered charity, and can support students with dyslexia and other specific learning differences from low-income families.

Dyslexia Association of Singapore1 Jurong West Central 2, #05-01 Jurong Point, Singapore 648886, [email protected], Tel: (+65) 6444 5700, www.das.org.sg


Genesis School for Special Education

Genesis School for Special Education provides child-centred, family-oriented education to children with special learning needs who are diagnosed within the average IQ range and above. Serving children from age 2.5 up through adulthood, the school takes a multi-faceted approach to learning, focusing on areas such as social-emotional development, fine/gross motor skills, cognitive/academic skills and more.

Genesis School for Special Education, 9/11 West Coast Road, Singapore 127296, Tel: (+65) 6733 1172, www.genesisschool.com.sg


Special Needs Schools in Singapore - Mighty Oaks

Mighty Oaks

Mighty Oaks offers intensive daily three-hour programmes that aim to equip children with the skills they need for mainstream school. Children might typically struggle with attention, language, social interaction, school readiness skills, and academic or pre-academic skills – the premises do not cater to children with physical disabilities, significant behavioural problems, or low IQ. Working with children aged 3 to 6, Mighty Oaks is the only programme in Singapore fully based on the DIR-Floortime methodology, which strives to understand each child’s developmental profile, individual strengths and weaknesses in various areas and is relationship-based. Children at Mighty Oaks are taught in groups of three, allowing for plenty of attention from staff and in turn, enabling staff – all certified special educators fully trained in the DIR Floortime method – to adapt all lessons to suit children’s needs. The programme also incorporates speech therapy, occupational therapy and art therapy. Many students are able to successfully transition back to mainstream school after six to 12 months.

Mighty Oaks, 312A Tanglin Road, #01-02, Phoenix Park Office Campus, Singapore 247982, Tel: (+65) 6736 2663, www.MightyOaksLC.com


Nurture Pods

An early intervention centre for children with special needs, Nurture Pods caters to children from 18 months up to 12 years old, addressing developmental disabilities and behavioural and communication difficulties, particularly for children with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD and global developmental delay. Specialist approaches include Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) as well as ABA and North Carolina TEACCH programmes, which are recommended by Singapore’s Ministry of Health to support children with ASD. Nurture Pods aims to help children develop social, academic, communication, compliance and daily living skills. They provide home-based ABA therapy, early intervention programmes at their centre, social skills classes and school shadow support programmes. Nurture Pods has also launched the world’s first professional school shadow certification (awarded by London Teacher Training College, UK) that teaches learners how to integrate children with special needs into mainstream schools.

Nurture Pods, 314 Thomson Road, Eng Aun Mansion, Singapore 307659, Tel: (+65) 6352 5938, www.nurturepods.com  


Wee Care

This popular preschool caters to children of all abilities and also offers specialised early intervention services in individual and group settings. Its First Starts offering is a specialised preschool programme for children with learning needs that features a low (1:3) teacher-student ratio. Individual therapy sessions help children with clinical diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, developmental dyspraxia, and developmental delay and revolve around an individualised education plan to meet a child’s most urgent learning requirements. Group therapy sessions, meanwhile, provide learning opportunities for children in a more naturalistic setting.

Wee Care, multiple locations, www.weecare.com.sg


Early Intervention Centres in Singapore

The Growing Academy

An ABA-focused therapy centre for children with autism, ADHD, speech delays, global developmental delays and behaviour issues, The Growing Academy helps little ones aged 18 months to 12 years bridge the gap between delays and mainstream curriculums. Their specialities include individual therapy, mainstream readiness programme, IQ preparation as well as social skills group learning. The team believes that new experiences are vital for mental growth and that it’s essential to the mind’s development. Class sizes have a 1:4 ratio, and you can expect a mix of early intervention and preschool curriculum. This boosts independence in children and helps with academic learning, which is necessary for primary school preparation. The East Coast centre’s programme also offers therapies in Japanese, all conducted by native Japanese therapists. The curriculum there also is curated to ensure that Japanese students will be ready to enter Japanese primary schools upon completion of the academy’s programmes.

The Growing Academy, multiple locations,[email protected], Tel: (65) 9424 1961, www.thegrowingacademy.sg


ABC Center Singapore

ABC Center Singapore‘s expertise lies in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. ABC Center’s programmes are mostly one-on-one, catering to children on the autism spectrum as well as those with a variety of developmental needs. The centre uses a global training programme and a dual supervision model to ensure quality. Children enrolled in its programmes make progress in domains such as language, cognitive and perception skills, social, group and play skills, motor skills, self-help and reduction of tantrums and problematic behaviour. ABC Center is the only centre in Singapore with board-certified behaviour analysts that have expertise in the ABA R.E.A.L (Recreating Environments to Accelerate Learning) approach. It also has an EarlyPreps group programme, an early intervention kindergarten-type programme, that is part of the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s PPIP programme, which allows subsidies for Singaporean and PR children (requirements apply).

ABC Centre Singapore, multiple locations, www.abccentersingapore.com


Bridge Learning

Bridge Learning stands out for its highly effective neuroscience-based, cross and non-categorical approach to specialised early intervention – this contrasts with the more widely practised, label-centric categorical approach. Bridge Learning offers personalised one-on-one and group intervention programmes to target a diverse range of learning difficulties. Using Dynamic Diagnostic Assessment™ (DDA) to identify a child’s strengths and weaknesses that can affect learning, they are able to map out an Individualised Developmental and Progress Profile (IDPP) and also incorporate Bridge NeuroGym™ and Israeli Brain Techniques to improve communication in the brain and boost academic success. Bridge Learning serves mainstream and gifted children aged 2.5 to 12 years old who have been diagnosed with (or are suspected to have) hybrid and/or mild learning difficulties and learning disabilities, including ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, auditory processing disorder, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia, sensory-motor integration dysfunction, and global developmental delay. Bridge Learning’s Social Enterprise financial subsidies are available for lower-income families.

Bridge Learning, multiple locations, Tel: (+65) 9021 5988, www.bridgelearning.com.sg


The Early Intervention Centre (EIC)

Providing individualised, targeted and intensive educational programmes for children from 18 months to 8 years, EIC caters to children identified with autism, intellectual disabilities, behavioural challenges and/or developmental delays. The school offers a wide array of services, including a group early intervention programme, individual early learning support, creative music, occupational and speech therapy. EIC staff are experienced educators who aim to nurture and provide children with a focused and holistic learning experience. Staff partake in regular relevant training to continue their learnings.

The Early Intervention Centre, 18 Ah Hood Road, #06-52/54, Hiap Hoe Building, Singapore 329983, Tel: (+65) 6352 8608, www.eic.sg


Kaleidoscope

Geared toward children ages 2 to 4, Kaleidoscope’s early intervention preschool programme “Ready Let’s Go” is an intensive therapy programme that focuses on supporting children to develop the skills needed to succeed in preschool. This includes intensive occupational and speech therapy in small group settings. This fully inclusive therapy centre accepts children with a range of disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy, and global developmental delay. All teachers possess both an education degree and a Masters in Special Education. Therapists also provide regular training on a range of topics including developmental play, sensory integration, and speech and language delay.

Kaleidoscope, 200 Turf Club Road, #07-05/06 The Grandstand, Singapore 287994, Tel: (+65) 6468 8991, www.kaleidoscope.com.sg


KidsFirst School

An early intervention centre for children aged 2 to 12, KidsFirst uses an eclectic mix of therapies for each child; these include approaches such as DIR Floortime, Hanen Program, PROMPT and Social Thinking. They provide an optimal learning environment for children with a range of challenges, such as autism, speech-language delay, Global Developmental Delay, cerebral palsy, ADHD, Down syndrome, Sensory Processing Disorder and more. The team here works to empower parents too, by working closely with them to ensure the goals for their child matches the family’s priorities. This is achieved through parent training presentations, family circle time sessions, child-specific therapy training sessions and more.

KidsFirst, 19 Tanglin Road, Tanglin Shopping Centre #08-11, #33-37, #49-50/52, Singapore 247909, Tel: (+65) 9166 5597, www.kidsfirst.co


Thumbs Up Therapy Singapore

The special needs practice aims to bridge the gap between children, caregivers, schools and therapists. Thumbs Up Therapy‘s mobile, in-home paediatric service helps children independently perform activities such as learning in school, managing and organising their belongings, playtime and self-care – dressing up, eating or going to the toilet without help – all of which are crucial in helping them grow into successful young adults. The team of therapists work with schools to offer individual assessments and therapy sessions, extracurricular activities, group therapy and even caregiver training workshops. Thumbs Up Therapy’s speech and language therapists are trained to support your child’s speech and language development. Want a little stimulation for your child during the09ir school holidays? Thumbs Up Therapy also does fun school holiday camps!

Thumbs Up Therapy Singapore, 24 Jalan Kuning, Singapore 278169, Tel: (+65) 8803 8447, www.thumbsuptherapy.sg


Frequently Used Terms & Phrases for Special Needs Learning in Singapore

We strongly suggest checking out Singapore’s Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) and the M.O.E.’s Parent’s Guide for Children with Special Education Needs, which answers the question “What does it mean to have special education needs?” with the following points:

  • They have been diagnosed with a disability
  • They show greater difficulty in learning as compared to the majority of their peers of the same age (e.g. difficulties in social, language, academic or physical abilities).
  • They require different or additional resources beyond what is generally available for the majority of their peers of the same age.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
Commonly practised as a therapeutic intervention for Autism, ABA is a type of therapy that focuses on improving specific behaviours, such as social skills, communication, reading and academics, as well as adaptive learning skills.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Autism spectrum disorder (or just autism) is a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
A brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.

Early Intervention
In Singapore, early intervention programmes are defined as seeking to equip infants and young children with special needs with improved motor, communication, social, self-help and cognitive skills. Early intervention activities are designed to maximise their developmental growth potential and minimise the development of secondary disabilities.

Inclusive education
This is an educational model or philosophy where special needs students are in the same classroom as non-special-needs (general education) students, with the belief that it fosters understanding and tolerance and better prepares students of all abilities to function in the world beyond school.

Mainstream school
Mainstreaming” is the practice of placing students with special education needs in a general education classroom during certain times, based on their skills (while at others placing them in separate special education classes). This is in contrast to “inclusion”.

Neurotypical
A relatively new term used to describe individuals of “typical” developmental, intellectual and cognitive abilities (in contrast to someone who may be on the autism spectrum or has other developmental differences characterizing them as “neurodiverse”).

Occupational Therapists
These specialists can help children achieve developmental milestones such as fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. In a broader sense, occupational therapists work with people to help make everyday living easier.

Shadow teachers
Shadow teachers work directly with a single special needs student in a mainstream or inclusive educational setting, focusing on social development and any particular difficulties that might arise from a child’s specific abilities

Speech Therapists
Speech therapists work with people of all ages with communication or swallowing difficulties, including comprehension and expression, articulation and phonology, fluency, and voice. Speech therapists can also help kids with other issues with spoken and written language, including dyslexia, dyspraxia, and auditory processing disorder.


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This article contains some paid partnership content. Lead image from Dover Court International School

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