A Parent’s Guide for Children with Special Educational Needs

A Parent’s Guide for Children
with Special Educational Needs
© 2012 Ministry of Education, Republic of Singapore
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be
reproduced in any form without written permission
of the copyright owners. All contents in this book
have been reproduced with the knowledge and prior
consent of the talents concerned, and no responsibility
is accepted by author, publisher, creative agency or
printer for any infringement of copyright or otherwise,
arising from the contents of this publication. Every
effort has been made to ensure that credits accurately
comply with information supplied. We apologise for any
inaccuracies that may have occurred and will resolve
inaccurate information or omissions in a subsequent
reprinting of the publication.
Published by
Ministry of Education
51 Grange Road
Singapore 249564
ISBN : 978-981-07-4338-3
Printed in Singapore
Available online at MOE’s Parents in Education
website at www.moe.gov.sg/parents-in-education
A Parent’s Guide for Children
with Special Educational Needs
This booklet, “A Parent’s Guide to Choosing the
Right School for Children with Special Educational Needs”,
is written for parents who may be concerned about the
school choices for their children1 with special educational
needs (SEN).
You may have learnt that your child has SEN and wish to
find out more about what it means to have SEN, and the
implications this has on your child’s education.
Some children with SEN may need extra help with their
education. Some may need to find an alternative school that
can provide the most suitable support for their unique needs.
In accessing appropriate education that meets their learning
needs, children with SEN can realise their full potential and
lead successful lives.
This guide aims to help you understand:
what special educational needs are
how you can help your child
what schools can do to help your child
how to apply to a special education (SPED) school
We hope this guide will be a useful companion as you
navigate this journey to explore the most appropriate
educational support for your child. This booklet is not meant
to be a substitute for professional advice. It is important to
remember that each child is different, and the information
in this guide may not apply to every child.
Children described in this guide, whether male or female,
are referred to as “he”. Readers should be aware that this is
for ease of reading, and does not imply that the experiences
of the child are gender specific.
Finding Your Way
Around This Guide
Choosing the right school
How do you decide on the
best school for your child? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
What can a mainstream school provide?. . . . 25
Your child’s special
educational needs
What do special education schools offer? . . . 26
Mainstream school
Case examples of children
with special educational needs . . . . . . . . . . . 29
What does it mean to have
special educational needs? . . . . . . . . . 8
SPED school
How can you help your child?. . . . . . . . 9
Applying to a special
education (SPED) school
Where can you get information? . . . . . 10
Common disabilities among
children in Singapore. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
What is an assessment of
special educational needs? . . . . . . . . . 18
Who should conduct
the assessment? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
What happens next? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
How do you apply to a
special education school?. . . . . . . . . . 36
What is the SPED school
application form?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
How do you complete the
SPED school application form? . . . . . . 37
When do you apply? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
What happens after you
submit the SPED school
application form?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Questions to ask the professionals
who assessed your child. . . . . . . . . . . . 20
SPED schools and their
programmes. . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Mrs Lim is feeling lost and confused.
Eric, her youngest child, has just been
diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
Since Eric was two years old, Mrs Lim has
noticed that he has not been behaving and
developing like his peers. It was her good
friend and neighbour, Mdm Rohayah, who
recommended that she takes Eric to seek an
assessment from a psychologist.
What does it
mean to
have special
educational n
How can you
help your
Where can y
information? get
Common dis
among childre ilities
n in
What does it mean to have
special educational needs?
a different pace. The progress made by children with SEN
depends partly on whether they receive appropriate support to meet their individual learning needs.
Like Mrs Lim, your child may have special educational
needs (SEN). What does it mean to have SEN?
How can you help your child?
A child is considered to have SEN when these three conditions are present:
Firstly, he has been diagnosed with a disability.
Secondly, he shows greater difficulty in learning as compared to the majority of his peers of the same age (e.g.
difficulties in his social, language, academic or physical
Thirdly, he requires different or additional resources beyond what is generally available for the majority of his
peers of the same age.
Compared to his peers, a child with SEN finds it more difficult to learn or to adapt socially. He may have difficulties:
• Doing school work
• Reading and writing
• Communicating with others
• Making friends
• Behaving appropriately in the presence of others
• Learning in school due to limitations in sight, hearing or physical mobility
Many parents experience a range of emotions as they try
to understand their child’s SEN. Some of these emotions include anxiety, grief, anger, fear, guilt, surprise, as well as
relief, acceptance and hope.
In their distress, some parents may be confused about the
diagnosis, and may not know how to help their child. Others
may be reluctant to enrol their child in a special education
(SPED) school, even though their child would benefit from
services provided in the SPED school. Some parents and
caregivers may adopt a wait-and-see approach, hoping that
their child will outgrow his disability. Others may feel relieved
that they now understand their child better and that they know
how to support him in his growth and development.
Although many parents
may find it difficult to come to terms with
their child’s SEN, some have taken positive
steps to move forward and find ways to
understand and help their child overcome
his difficulties.
Every child is different. For example, two children with the
same diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder may have very
different learning and support needs, and may progress at
The internet has a wealth of information
but not everything you read is accurate or
useful. Verify the reliability of the source
of information and consult the professionals
supporting your child.
As parents and caregivers, you play a key role in helping
your child. Start by finding out more information about your
child’s SEN. Speak to his teachers, other parents and caregivers, and the professionals working with him. Share with
them his needs. Work together with his teachers to plan for
support at school and at home.
Understanding your child’s needs, strengths and difficulties
can help you to decide the right kind of support for him.
• Community-based agencies (e.g. family service
• Voluntary welfare organisations (e.g. special
education schools, Students Care Service)
• Centre for Enabled Living (www.cel.sg)
Finding the appropriate educational support may take time.
Remember that the good decisions you make now can help
your child reach his full potential in school and provide a
successful transition into adulthood.
Meeting other parents in similar situations and learning
how they cope can be a great help. Remember you are not alone. Don’t
be afraid to reach out and ask for help.
Where can you get information?
Look for books on SEN written by professionals. Search the
internet for information about your child’s diagnosis and
look for answers to questions that you might have. Parents
Support Groups can be a source of comfort and mutual understanding as parents who have gone through similar experiences can offer valuable information and advice.
Other organisations you can get help from are:
• Children health services (e.g. KK Women’s and
Children’s Hospital, National University Hospital,
Child Guidance Clinic)
Common disabilities among
children in Singapore
In Singapore
, persons with disabilities are defined as “those whose prospects of securing, retaining places
and advancing in education and training institutions, employment and recreation as equal members of the community are
substantially reduced as a result of physical, sensory, intellectual and developmental impairments.2”
The following are some of the disabilities commonly seen
among school children in Singapore.
Autism spectrum disorders
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group of developmental
disabilities which affect a person’s ability to communicate and
interact with others. Children with ASD have difficulties in three
key areas – difficulties in communication, difficulties in social
interaction, and impairments in interests, activities and other
Intellectual disability
Children with intellectual disability (ID) show significant difficulties in cognitive and adaptive functioning. Cognitive functioning refers to the ability to think, concentrate, formulate
ideas, reason and remember. Adaptive functioning refers to the
ability to handle daily demands in life independently, and includes communication, self-care, home living, motor, social and
interpersonal skills.
Definition of persons with disabilities adopted by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth
and Sports (MCYS) as used in the Enabling Masterplan 2007–2011.
For more information on ASD, please refer to the Patient Version of the local Clinical Practice
Guidelines on autism at www.moh.gov.sg/content/dam/moh_web/HPP/Doctors/cpg_medical/
Visual impairment
Visual impairment refers to limitation or absence of sight, which
includes partial sight or blindness. It is a severe reduction in vision
that cannot be corrected with standard glasses or contact lenses,
and reduces a person’s ability to function in some or all tasks.
Hearing impairment
Hearing impairment refers to both complete and partial loss of
the ability to hear. Hearing loss can be conductive (may be treatable) or sensorineural (which will require hearing aids or cochlear implants).
Cerebral palsy
Cerebral palsy is a condition caused by brain injuries or abnormalities. Children with cerebral palsy may suffer from loss of
muscle coordination and motor skills, speech difficulties, learning
disabilities or other problems.
Learning Disabilities
Children with learning disabilities may have difficulties with
reading, writing, spelling, recalling and organising information. This is caused by differences in the way their brains developed. Learning disabilities are not due to disadvantaged backgrounds, poor teaching, lack of education or low intelligence.
Many children with learning disabilities have very good thinking and reasoning abilities. With appropriate support, these
children can overcome their learning difficulties and achieve
academic success.
Continue to strengthen the bond and
spend quality time with your child, apart from taking
him on visits to the doctors or to the therapists.
Among children in mainstream schools, two of the most common disabilities that affect learning are dyslexia and attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Dyslexia is a specific
learning difficulty that mainly affects the development of literacy and language-related skills. The core symptoms of ADHD
include inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.
At the meeting with the
psychologist to discuss Eric’s diagnosis,
questions loomed large in Mrs Lim’s mind:
“How did they arrive at Eric’s diagnosis? What do
the results mean? What can I do to help him?”
W hat
is an asse
of special edu ssment
Who should
the assessme duct
What happen
s next?
Questions to
ask the
assessed you ho
r child
What is an assessment of
special educational needs?
Nurture a close and
As a parent, you know your child best and may have noticed
some problems with his learning or development for some
time now. Beyond parental insights and observations, a formal assessment by a qualified professional or team of professionals is needed to best determine your child’s special
educational needs (SEN).
A formal assessment of SEN is based on a variety of assessment tools, with careful analyses of all findings from different sources. A single assessment alone should not be used
to determine your child’s diagnosis.
At the end of the assessment process, the professional
should present a holistic profile of your child. It should highlight his strengths and difficulties in key areas of functioning
– developmental, learning, academic and social. The professional should provide a clear diagnosis of your child’s
condition and his learning needs. Bear in mind that a diagnosis does not change your child, rather, it explains him.
Most importantly, the assessment should include clear recommendations for intervention and support. These rec-
Expect that you will need to be
doing a lot of research. Keep a folder
handy of your child’s assessments
and reports (e.g. medical, school) for
bringing along during visits to doctors
or therapists. Also bring your spouse
or a close relative for support and for
that extra pair of ears.
medic ts
positive relationship with your
child. Despite the difficulties that
you may face from time to time,
remember that everything you
do – every therapy, encouraging
word, smile, hug – will make a
difference in his life.
ommendations must be practical and effective for you to
implement at home, and at school by your child’s teachers.
Additionally, the assessment should help you identify the
type of support and education that he may require in the
longer term.
Who should conduct
the assessment?
It is important that the assessment is carried out by qualified professionals with relevant experience and training.
This is because the professional’s judgement will influence
what you decide for the future of your child’s education.
Ascertain the credentials of the professional who assessed
your child. For example, a psychological assessment should
be conducted by a qualified psychologist registered with
the Singapore Register of Psychologists (www.singaporepsychologicalsociety.org/2011/?page_id=60).
If you suspect that your child has SEN and you are considering a formal assessment, you should discuss assessment
options with his school teachers. Depending on the difficulties displayed, the school may recommend for him to be assessed by
psychologists from the Ministry of Education, or by professionals
from a government/restructured hospital. Alternatively, you can
have him assessed by a qualified private professional (e.g. psychologist, therapist).
What happens next?
Children with SEN may require different types of support. Discuss
with the professional on a suitable intervention plan for your child.
If he is already enrolled in a mainstream school, discuss his needs
with his school teachers and the best ways to implement the recommended strategies. For some children, their needs may be better served in a special education (SPED) school. The next chapter
will help you understand the different curricula and programmes
offered in these schools.
Questions to ask the professionals
who assessed your child
• How should I explain my child’s special educational needs (SEN)
to him and to other family members?
• What are my child’s chances for improvement? Will he outgrow
his condition completely?
About home-based intervention
• What are the interventions and strategies that I can use at home?
• What resources can you recommend?
About school-based intervention
• What interventions and strategies can be implemented in his
current school?
• What strategies should I discuss with his teachers?
About school placement
• What are the school options that I should consider for my child?
• What are the programmes available in the special education
(SPED) schools that can help my child?
Take the time
to understand your child’s diagnosis
and possible ways to help him. Below is a list of questions you may ask
the professionals who assessed your child.
About the diagnosis and the overall treatment
• What are the treatment, therapy and intervention options
available to my child? Which would you recommend, and why?
• What areas should I focus on first? (e.g. language, social skills
or behavioural difficulties)
• Are there warning signs that I should be alerted to, so that my
child’s safety can be managed?
Read up on your
child’s disability. Seldom will
you find a single book that
captures all that you want to
know about it, but reading
widely will help you to
build up a good resource of
information and practical tips
to help him.
Mrs Lim wonders, “Would a mainstream
school or a special education (SPED) school be
more suitable for Eric? How do I decide which is
the best school for him?” As Mrs Lim ponders over
this matter, she thinks of her good friend, Mdm
Rohayah, whose daughter has special educational
needs (SEN).
Years ago, Mdm Rohayah’s daughter, Liyana was
diagnosed to have mild intellectual disability.
Mdm Rohayah remembers vividly Liyana’s
educational journey, in particular, the decision
she made to enrol Liyana in a SPED school.
She felt that the decision was a turning point for
Liyana. Now 24 years old,
Liyana is an independent
young lady working
in the food and
beverage industry.
do you dec
on the best sc ide
for your child ol
What can a m
school provid
What do spe
education sch l
Case examp
children with of
educational n ecial
How do you decide on the
best school for your child?
Now that your child has been diagnosed to have special
educational needs (SEN), the next question in your mind
may be, “Which school would best meet his needs? Would
a mainstream school or a special education (SPED) school
be more suitable? What factors should I consider when
making this decision?”
Generally, the choice of school depends on your child’s
learning and behavioural needs, and the type of support he
requires. Consider his strengths and difficulties:
• Is he able to cope with the demands of his current
mainstream school?
• Is he able to work on his own? Does he need
frequent reminders and individual attention to stay
engaged on a task?
• Can he follow group instructions and seek help
when necessary?
Both your child’s cognitive ability and adaptive skills are
important considerations when choosing a school. To learn
successfully in a mainstream school:
• He will need to have adequate cognitive ability to
cope with the mainstream curriculum. He will need
to be able to think, concentrate, form ideas, reason
and remember information well.
• He will also need to have adequate adaptive skills to
cope with the learning environment and be able to
learn in a large group setting.
If he experiences many difficulties in these skills and requires a high level of support, a SPED school may be better
for him. For example, he may require a specialised curriculum, customised classroom instructions (e.g. visual communication), or teachers and allied health professionals with
specialised expertise not available in a mainstream school.
Speak with the professionals and your child’s teachers to
seek their recommendations.
Refer to pages 29–32 for case examples of how the needs of
children with SEN can be met in the different types of schools.
Before deciding on a school,
take the initiative to find out more
about the programmes offered by
different schools. Visit the websites
of the different schools, attend their
open-house, or arrange visits to the
What can a mainstream
school provide?
If your child has mild SEN, he may be supported in a mainstream school. For example, he may receive support from
the school’s Allied Educator in Learning and Behavioural
Support [AED(LBS)] or Teachers trained in Special Needs
(TSNs). The AED(LBS) is equipped to teach specific skills
in reading, spelling, socialisation and organisation. Mainstream schools also run learning support programmes to
help children who may need help in basic reading and
If your child has mild impairments in hearing, vision or physical mobility, additional support services can be arranged
for him by his mainstream school. For example, the school
can seek assistance from voluntary welfare organisations
such as the Asian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA)
and Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf) for training in the use of specialised equipment (e.g. assistive technology devices, motorised wheelchairs) and for advice for
teachers on strategies to help your child in school.
reading and writing skills that are needed for daily living.
For children who are able to follow the mainstream curriculum, there are some SPED schools that prepare students for
national examinations such as the Primary School Leaving
Examination (PSLE).
Many mainstream schools are equipped with full handicap
facilities. This is to help children with physical disabilities
better access the learning environment. These schools are
located in different parts of Singapore. (See full listing at
Your child will also be offered special programmes that
have been customised to his specific educational needs.
For example, if he has difficulties interacting and communicating with peers, there are social and emotional learning
programmes to help him develop self-control, social skills
and emotional awareness. A child with severe difficulties in
self-help skills may be explicitly taught important life skills
for independent living (e.g. personal grooming, self-advocacy and awareness, toileting, dressing and feeding). Your
child will also be given opportunities to develop his interests and talents (e.g. in computers or the performing and
visual arts). Class sizes are kept small so that teachers can
provide better attention and support to individual students.
What do special education
schools offer?
If your child requires a greater level of support and is unable to benefit fully from attending a mainstream school, the
professionals working with your child may recommend a
SPED school. What support does a SPED school have that is
not available in mainstream schools?
A SPED school customises its curriculum and programmes
to meet the specific educational needs of its students. SPED
schools offer diverse programmes that cater to differing
needs of children with SEN. For example, they may focus on
developing communication and self-help skills, and basic
frequently with your child’s
school teachers. It is important
that you work together to
ensure that your child enjoys
learning and makes progress
in all areas – academically,
socially and emotionally.
Increasingly, SPED school students are being prepared for
entry into the workforce. A few SPED schools now offer vocational education programmes that lead to national certification. To enhance students’ employability after graduation, they may also be trained for job placement in local
businesses (e.g. food and beverage, hospitality, horticulture
and landscaping industries).
SPED school children are also given opportunities to interact with peers from the mainstream schools through partnerships with mainstream schools in the neighbourhood.
Joint activities are planned for the students so that they can
interact and learn from one another.
In terms of physical facilities, SPED schools may be better
equipped to cater to specific educational needs of students.
SPED schools are equipped differently (e.g. soundproof
rooms for children with sensory disabilities, commercial
kitchens for children undergoing vocational education, hydrotherapy pools for children who require physiotherapy).
SPED school students also receive support from allied
health professionals such as psychologists and therapists.
There are also social workers who look into family life support services such as counselling, provision of financial assistance, and caregiver and sibling support, to ensure holistic support for the child.
There is a wide range of financial subsidies and grants
available in SPED schools if you need financial help. Speak
to the staff or social worker in the SPED school to find out
more about the financial support schemes available.
Case examples of children
with special educational needs
Case example 1
is a Primary 4 boy who was diagnosed with
dyslexia a year ago. His mainstream school makes
arrangements for him to attend subsidised specialised
remediation classes conducted after school by the
Dyslexia Association of Singapore. In addition, in
school, the Allied Educator (Learning and Behavioural
Support) [AED(LBS)] guides him in his school work. At
home, Peter’s mother also supports him to ensure that
he receives consistent practice in reading and spelling.
With this support, Peter’s basic reading has improved,
and he no longer fears his weekly spelling tests.
Case example 2
was diagnosed with moderate intellectual
disability at age seven. He has difficulties in communication
and in coordinating the use of his hands and fingers for daily
tasks. At his SPED school, he is provided with weekly therapy
sessions with the occupational therapist to develop his fine
motor skills. In class, he is taught self-help and daily living skills.
These skills give Hakim a foundation in basic independence
and employment skills. Hakim enjoys the physical education
lessons in school. Hakim’s parents are happy that he is now able
to prepare simple meals for himself and no longer relies on his
caregiver to manage his basic needs. They also report that he
is more patient and loving towards other family members. The
bond between him and his parents has also become stronger.
Case Example 3
Xiu Ling,
who is 14 years old, is currently attending a SPED
school where she learns vocational skills in the hospitality, food
and beverage services. She was diagnosed with mild intellectual
disability when she was eight years old. Her parents then were very
worried about her future.
Now, six years on, Xiu Ling has benefited from the programme at her
SPED school which has taught her basic literacy and numeracy skills
that are needed for daily living. She is also active in her school’s
Handbells Group, and enjoys performing at school concerts.
Xiu Ling’s parents are proud of her and happy that she has grown
to be independent. Xiu Ling is looking forward to finding a job at a
hotel when she graduates from the SPED school.
Case example 4
was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. He attends a mainstream
school where he uses a motorised wheelchair to get around. The school
is equipped with ramps and all his classes are held in rooms that are
Case example 5
is in Primary 4 and attending a SPED school. He was
diagnosed with autism two years ago, while he was enrolled in a
mainstream school. The psychologist also assessed him to have
average cognitive abilities.
In his mainstream school, Bava faced many difficulties. While he was
able to cope with english and mathematics, he was unable to express
his emotions appropriately. As a result, Bava often faced problems
with his peers and classmates, and was not able to participate in
group work. He frequently complained that his friends “disturb” him
in class. On the other hand, his classmates’ complaints about him
were that he said and did things that were hurtful.
After much thought, Bava’s parents decided to enrol him in a SPED
school offering the mainstream curriculum. The structured learning
environment and the smaller class size meant that teachers could
better facilitate daily interactions between students in the class.
In addition to teaching academic skills, his teachers have helped
him with self-regulation and in learning new social skills. This has
enabled him to manage his emotions and communicate with others.
As he has some difficulty in the use of his hands, Loy’s teachers
minimise the writing required of him by providing him with lesson
notes, and allowing him to use a laptop in class. The school also
gives him additional time to complete written work and tests. Loy’s
determination has been an important factor in his success. He did
well for his PSLE, and went on to a secondary school that is equipped
with handicap facilities.
During the first few months in his new secondary school, his teachers
arranged for a therapist from the Asian Women’s Welfare Association to
familiarise Loy with different routes and classrooms within the school, so
that he could move about independently. The therapist also helped his
teachers and classmates better understand his needs and how best to
help him. This sharing of information better prepared Loy for secondary
school. As a result, he could be included in all learning activities.
Case example 6
was in Primary 2 when she displayed signs
of distractibility and poor attention, causing her teachers
much concern. In addition, temper outbursts and impulsive
behaviour caused many problems between her and her peers,
and these affected her learning. These observations were
similar to those made by Sharon’s pre-school teachers. Sharon’s
mother consented to the school’s referral to the Response, Early
Intervention and Assessment in Community Mental Health
(REACH4) team.
Sharon was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD) after assessment by the mental health
professionals from the REACH team.
Several recommendations were made, including the use of
medication to control her inattention and impulsivity. In school,
Sharon received counselling to improve the relationships
between her and her peers. She also received additional
remedial help from her subject teachers. At home, Sharon’s
parents set up a more structured learning environment and
ensured that she took her medication regularly.
All these efforts bore fruit. Today, Sharon is learning well
in school and is a confident and happy child.
REACH is a community-based mental health service
to help students with emotional, behavioural and/or
developmental disorders. Visit www.reachforstudents.com
for more details.
After much
Mrs Lim decided that a special education
(SPED) school would be most appropriate
for Eric. She has obtained a copy of the
SPED school application form, and has
approached Eric’s current school for help
on how to complete it.
Applying l
to a specia
How do you a
special educa ly to a
What is the S
application fo D school
How do you c
the SPED sch plete
application fo l
When do you
What happen
submit the SP fter you
ED school
application fo
How do you apply to a
special education school?
Once you have decided on a special education (SPED) school for
your child, you will need to complete the SPED school application
form. This is a standard form that has to be completed by all children applying to any of the SPED schools that are funded by the
Ministry of Education and the National Council of Social Service.
The list of these schools is on pages 40-52.
G. School report. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . II-1
When applying to a SPED school, you should work closely with the
referring agency who will be able to assist you with completing
the form, and submitting the completed form to your first choice
SPED school. The referring agency includes mainstream and
SPED schools, government/restructured hospitals, Early Intervention Programme for Infants & Children (EIPIC) Centres, and private professionals who have worked closely with your child.
Section IV: To be completed by a psychologist
I. Psychological report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IV-1
What is the SPED school application form?
Please refer to the accompanying user guide when completing the form.
Download a copy of the form and the user guide at:
Section I: To be completed by referring agency and parents
A. Declaration by Parent/Guardian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I-1
B. Child’s information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I-2
C. Family’s information. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I-3
D. Child’s educational background. . . . . . . . . . . . . . I-5
E. Medical and allied health professionals’
involvement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I-5
F. Additional information for children applying to
SPED schools and/or programmes for children
with Autism Spectrum Disorders. . . . . . . . . . . . . . I-6
Section II: To be completed by a teacher
Section III: To be completed by a medical doctor
H. Medical report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . III-1
How do you complete the
SPED school application form?
When completing the form, you should refer to the accompanying
user guide for assistance. The user guide provides:
• An overview of the form and documentation requirements
• A section-by-section guide on how to complete the form,
including explanations of key terms used
• Information on SPED schools
• Information on submission of the form
Work closely with your
referring agency. It will assist you
with completing and submitting the
form to your first choice SPED school.
To ensure that complete and accurate information of your child’s
needs and abilities is included, you will need the following:
• details of your child and family
• school report to describe your child’s behaviour in teaching and learning contexts
• medical report to highlight any medical or physical needs
• psychological report on your child’s special educational
needs (SEN)
Applications can only be processed if all required documents are
received in order. Missing or inaccurate information may result
in delays in processing. For more details on admission criteria or
processes, please visit the respective SPED schools’ websites.
When do you apply?
SPED schools enrol children at different times of the year and
many of them have more than one annual enrolment. Once you
have shortlisted the SPED schools for your child, start contacting them and browsing their websites for their intake information.
Keep a calendar of important deadlines (e.g. closing dates for application, school admission dates).
What happens after you submit
the SPED school application form?
After the SPED school has received your completed form, you can
expect a reply on the application outcome within two months. Contact your first choice SPED school or referring agency if you have
queries on your application.
If your child’s needs are complex and his profile is unclear, the
SPED school may contact you for more information. In some cases,
the SPED school may consult the Multi-Agency Advisory Panel.
This Panel was set up by the Ministry of Education in 2012 to help
schools decide on the most appropriate alternative school placement for children with SEN.
While waiting for a confirmed place in the SPED school, you should
continue to work closely with your child’s current school so that his
learning and behaviour can be managed appropriately. Discuss
with his teachers on ways to help prepare him mentally for the transition to the SPED school. Maintain this communication throughout the transition process to ensure his smooth transfer to the
new school.
For a complete
and accurate profile
of your child, the form
requires reports from
key parties familiar with
his needs, namely his
teachers, the doctor and
the psychologist.
2. Pathlight School
SPED schools and their programmes
For children with
autism spectrum disorder
1. Eden School
101 Bukit Batok West Avenue 3, Singapore 659168
Tel: 6265 7400
Fax: 6265 9400
Email: [email protected]
Eden School caters to children with autism, between 7 and 18 years
old, who are assessed to be more suitable for a vocational route.
The school aims to deliver a balanced curriculum and a meaningful structured and sensory neutral environment with strong
visual supports that meet the needs of the children, help them
to organise themselves and learn to function more meaningfully, independently and successfully.
The curriculum domains include work habits, self-management, functional communication, social skills, functional academics and vocational skills. The school engages professional
expertise to teach gym, art and a variety of co-curricular activities which include inline skating, swimming, music and movement, art and baking.
The school programme comprises four separate tracks of
learning, developed to address the wide range of learning and
educational needs of the students. Students are matched to a
particular ‘track’ after a period of careful assessment by the
school’s professional team.
Although accurate at time of print, all information is subject to change.
For current information, refer to the schools’ websites.
Campus 1
5 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10
Singapore 569739
Tel: 6459 9951
Fax: 6459 3397
Campus 2
6 Ang Mo Kio St 44
Singapore 569253
Tel: 6592 0511
Fax 6592 0514
Email: [email protected]
Pathlight School is an autism-focused school that offers mainstream academic curriculum together with life readiness skills.
The school’s base curriculum is Singapore’s mainstream school
curriculum (currently leading to PSLE, GCE ‘O’ and ‘N’ Level
In addition to the usual academic subjects, the school also offers a non-academic curriculum, which focuses on social, communication and self-management. This curriculum includes
social and thinking skills, daily living skills, work habits, emotional management, moral education, information technology
and physical education. Mother Tongue is excluded from the
school curriculum.
The school caters to children with autism, between 7 and 18
years old, who are cognitively able to access mainstream academics in a structured group setting.
3. St. Andrew’s Autism School
1 Elliot Road, Singapore 458686
Tel: 6517 3800
Fax: 6517 3801
Email: [email protected]
St Andrew’s Autism School is a service of the St Andrew’s Autism Centre. It caters to children with autism who are 7 to 18
years old and can adapt and learn in a 1:3 setting in a class
grouping of 6 (up to 8) learners.
The needs of the children are met through programmes that
address personal care and daily living skills, functional literacy and numeracy with social, work behaviours and vocational
skills. Children and teens able to access reading and drama
would be exposed to learning via enhanced language, communication and interaction programmes.
The children receive enhanced recreational experiences and
learn leisure skills through co-curricular activities (CCA),
adaptive physical education and training in the expressive
arts through dance, art and music lessons. Embedded activities like projects as well as community-referenced learning
(CRL) enable learners to practise functional academic, social
and communicative skills as well as acquire generalisation and
confidence to prepare for dignified independence.
APSN Chaoyang School caters to children with
MID and children with mild autism, between 7 and 12 years old.
Children move on to Tanglin or Katong School when they are
13 years old.
The school offers two programmes – a programme for children
with MID and a programme for children with mild autism.
The curriculum domains include functional academics such
as literacy, numeracy, science and information technology;
personal-social skills (e.g. life skills, social competence, fitness
and health education, visual and performing arts, social and
emotional learning); and co-curricular activities.
Occupational, speech and music therapy cater to learners’ sensory and regulatory needs in alignment with their individual
educational goals. Support is provided to family members and
caregivers through pastoral care and training in autism support skills. The community is involved through programmes
that engage volunteers and foster autism awareness in the
APSN Tanglin School caters to children with MID
and children with mild autism, between 13 and 18 years old.
The school works closely with the Adult Services to align programmes and practices to enable transition to post-school pathways. The Anglican community of services is also tapped to afford more opportunities for the school children, and the adults.
The school offers vocational education with domains in food
& beverage, horticulture, hospitality services and retail operations. The work exposure and work experience programmes
are part of vocational education.
18 Ang Mo Kio Ave 9, Singapore 569767
Tel: 6456 6922
For children with
mild intellectual disability
The other curriculum domains are literacy, numeracy, information & communication technology, science, social emotional
competencies, vocational guidance, aesthetics, physical education and co-curricular activities.
1. Association for Persons with
Special Needs (APSN) Schools
143 Alexandra Road, Singapore 159924
Tel: 6475 1511
APSN Headquarters
900 New Upper Changi Road, Singapore 467354
Tel: 6479 6252
Fax: 6479 6272
Email: [email protected]
The APSN schools cater to children with mild intellectual disability (MID) i.e. IQ range 50 – 70 with concurrent significant
limitations in adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual,
social and practical adaptive skills.
APSN Katong School caters to children with MID
and children with mild autism, between 7 and 18 years old.
The school offers two programmes – a programme for children
with MID and a programme for children with mild autism.
The curriculum domains are functional academics (e.g. literacy, numeracy, science and information technology); personal-social skills (e.g. life skills, social competence, physical
education, visual and performing arts, social and emotional
competency); vocational education (e.g. vocational assessment, vocational guidance, hard skills, work experience) and
co-curricular activities.
900 New Upper Changi Road, Singapore 467354
Tel: 6445 8027
APSN Delta Senior School caters to children
with MID, aged 17 to 21 years old. Students are at their final
phase of schooling at APSN before they transit and integrate
into the community. The school facilitates the transition of students from school to the society to live quality lives.
The school offers a competency-based vocational programme,
providing broad industry skills, and practical knowledge leading to Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) certifications.
The programmes offered include foundational skills such as
employability skills under the WSQ frameworks (e.g. workplace literacy and numeracy, communicate and relate effectively at the workplace, solve problems and make decisions,
personal effectiveness, basic information communication
technology, workplace safety and health; and industry specific
These skills equip students with practical knowledge to perform specific jobs well, such as environmental cleaning, F&B,
housekeeping, landscaping and retail operations.
20 Delta Avenue, Singapore 169832
Tel: 6276 3818
2. Grace Orchard School
6A Jurong West Street 52
Singapore 649297
Tel: 6561 9128
Fax: 6561 4133
Email: [email protected]
Grace Orchard School provides special education to children
with mild intellectual disability (MID) (IQ: 50 – 70) and children
with mild autism who function within the MID IQ range. Children are between 7 and 18 years old and are from various races
and religions.
The school offers two programmes – a programme for children
with MID and a programme for children with autism.
The curriculum domains include functional academics such
as literacy, numeracy and information technology; daily living skills (e.g. self-help skills, community living skills and
social skills); vocational education such as basic vocational
skills training, work exposure programme, vocational assessment, vocational guidance and soft skills; and recreation and aesthetics.
3. Metta School
30 Simei Street 1, Singapore 529949
Tel: 6788 5800
Fax: 6788 5507
Metta School caters to children with mild intellectual disability
(MID) (IQ: 50 – 70) and children with mild autism who function
within the MID IQ range. Children are between 7 and 21 years
old and are from various races and religions.
The school offers the following three programmes:
1. The autism spectrum disorder (ASD) programme aims to
develop and improve individual skills in social interaction
and communication, behavioural and emotional development, cognitive as well as adaptive daily-living skills.
2. The basic and career programme (B and C) – whose curriculum comprises the core learning areas of functional
academics (e.g. literacy, numeracy, information technology
and Mother Tongue), independent living skills (e.g. selfhelp, health/moral/sexuality education, home economics,
social competence, work exposure and vocational education), and aesthetics and sports.
3. The vocational programme (V) prepares individuals for
the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) Skills Certificate
comprising two components – the Off-the-Job where technical concepts and knowledge in a classroom setting are
taught and On-the-Job training where individuals acquire
practical skills under the guidance of an experienced supervisor in an actual work environment.
For children with moderate
to severe intellectual disability
1. Movement for the
Intellectually Disabled of
Singapore (MINDS) Schools
800 Margaret Drive, Singapore 149310
Tel: 6479 5655
Fax: 6479 0706
Email: [email protected]
MINDS special schools provide special education to children
with intellectual disability, aged 7 to 18 years including children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
The schools offer the following programmes:
1. Junior programme (7 to 12 years)
2. Senior programme (13 to 18 years)
3. Special programme (across all ages for those who need
high support)
The curriculum is tailored to meet the needs of individual students with a focus on helping them to function and integrate
into society. The curriculum includes:
English language
Health education
Social competency skills
Domestic science
Physical education
The Arts
The Senior programme also includes vocational preparation
with work attachments for transition to after-school services.
The Special programme is for children who have challenging
behaviours or have additional concerns that may impact their
learning ability. The programme emphasises the learning of basic independent living skills such as toileting, dressing, feeding
and grooming skills.
Additionally, the school offers a range of co-curricular and enrichment activities which include uniform groups, sports, information and communications technology, and the arts. The school
also organises modular activities such as educational trips, rockwall climbing and camping trips.
MINDS Fernvale Gardens School
7 Fernvale Road, Singapore 797635
Tel: 6481 6697
Fax: 6483 2631
Email: [email protected] MINDS Lee Kong Chian Gardens School
802 Margaret Drive, Singapore 149311
Tel: 6473 8332
Fax: 6473 4776
Email: [email protected]
MINDS Towner Gardens School
1B Lengkong Lima, Singapore 417557
Tel: 6446 2612
Fax: 6243 7498
Email: [email protected]
MINDS Woodlands Gardens School
30 Woodlands Ring Road #01-01, Singapore 737883
Tel: 6468 0566
Fax: 6468 2142
Email: [email protected]
For children with
multiple disabilities
1. Asian Women’s Welfare
Association (AWWA) School
11 Lorong Napiri, Singapore 547532
Tel: 6511 5280
Fax: 6511 5281
Email: [email protected]
AWWA school provides special education to children with
multiple disabilities and children with autism. Children range
in age from 7 to 18 years old.
The school offers a support system of focused education and
therapy. It runs two programmes:
1. Project Challenge caters to pupils with autism spectrum
disorder or other behavioural concerns. Project Challenge
uses a structured teaching approach to help pupils develop
socially appropriate behaviours and to enhance learning
and independent living.
2. Special Education caters to pupils with multiple disabilities.
2. Spastic Children’s Association
of Singapore (SCAS) School
Cerebral Palsy Centre
65 Pasir Ris Drive 1, Singapore 519529
Tel: 6585 5600
Fax: 6585 5603
Email: [email protected]
SCAS school is run by the Spastic Children’s Association of
Singapore. It caters to children with cerebral palsy and related
conditions. Many of the children have disorders of movement,
posture and development and are not able to benefit from the
mainstream education. Children are between 7 and 18 years
The school tailors the curriculum to meet the individual needs
of the children, covering domains in cognition, communication,
skills for independent living and social and emotional skills.
Three programmes are offered at SCAS:
1. High support programme (students with moderate to high
support needs)
2. Functional programme (students with mild to moderate
support needs)
3. Academic programme (students with mild support needs,
higher cognition level and display ability to handle demands of mainstream curriculum)
Pre-vocational training is provided for select children aged 12
years old and above, who have moderate to good motor and
cognitive functions. The programme prepares these children
for future sheltered or open employment.
3. Rainbow Centre
(Margaret Drive School
& Yishun Park School)
501 Margaret Drive
Singapore 149306
Tel: 6472 7077
Fax: 6475 9739
Park School
15 Yishun Street 61
Singapore 768548
Tel: 6482 2592
Fax: 6482 2593
The two Rainbow Centre schools provide special education to
children with multiple disabilities and with mild to severe autism, who are between 7 and 18 years old. Both schools offer
similar programmes, special features and facilities to meet the
diverse special educational needs of children.
The schools offer two programmes:
1. Programmes for pupils with multiple disabilities (PPMD)
for children between 7 and 18 years old. The children have
more than one disability which may be a combination of
intellectual and/ or, physical or sensory impairment.
2. Structured teaching for exceptional pupils (STEP) for children with autism, between 7 and 18 years old. The children
have mild to severe autism.
The school adopts a differentiated developmental curriculum
covering domains in cognition, communication, gross motor,
fine motor, self help and social and emotional skills. Children
are taught in teaching ratios ranging from 1:1 to 1:5 depending
on the students’ needs and level of functioning.
For children with
sensory impairment
1. Canossian School
1 Sallim Road, Singapore 387621
Tel: 6749 8971
Fax: 6749 8976
Email: [email protected]
Canossian School caters to children with hearing impairment
(of different races and religions), between 7 and 16 years old.
The school offers mainstream primary level curriculum and
prepares children for the PSLE. Children move on to mainstream secondary schools. Those who are not placed in mainstream secondary schools will be placed in mainstream vocational schools. Children are exempted from Mother Tongue.
The school uses the Natural Auditory Oral (NAO) approach
which exposes the children to natural spoken language, to help
them develop listening and oral communication skills as they
learn to speak. Every child is given ten minutes of Individual
Conversation (IC) daily to reinforce the development of listening, spoken language and interactive skills.
Through the school’s Inclusion Programme, children are placed
in mainstream primary schools to learn alongside their hearing classmates. Canossian School has forged strong partnerships with Canossa Convent Primary School and MacPherson
Primary School for the Inclusion Programme. Both schools are
located within walking distance from Canossian School.
Vocational programme is offered for those 13 years and above.
2. Lighthouse School
51 Toa Payoh Rise, Singapore 298106
Tel: 6250 3755
Fax: 6250 5348
Email: [email protected]
Lighthouse School serves primarily children with visual impairment and children with hearing impairment, between 7
and 18 years old. In 2004, the school started a class for children
with autism who are able to access mainstream primary level
The school offers mainstream primary level curriculum for
children with an IQ of above 75 and prepares them for PSLE.
Children who are successful in the PSLE continue their education in designated mainstream secondary schools. Children
with IQ below 75 or have additional special needs attend a
special programme, which focuses on life skills and pre-vocational skills.
The programmes offered by Lighthouse School are as follows:
1. Mainstream programme for children with visual
2. Mainstream programme for children with hearing
3. Special programme for children with visual impairment
and IQ below 75
4. Special programme for children with hearing impairment
and IQ below 75
51 Grange Road
Singapore 249564
ISBN 978-981-07-4338-3
9 789810 743383