A Parent s Guide for Children with Special Educational Needs

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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 www.moe.gov.sg 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


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.

1Children 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.


Mainstream school SPED school

What does it mean to have

special educational needs? . . . 8 How can you help your child? . . . 9 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 Questions to ask the professionals who assessed your child . . . 20



How do you decide on the

best school for your child? . . . .24 What can a mainstream school provide? . . . .25 What do special education schools offer? . . .26 Case examples of children

with special educational needs . . . .29

Choosing the right school


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

Applying to a special

education (SPED) school


Finding Your Way

Around This Guide

Your child’s special


Your child’s





What does it mean to

have special

educational needs?

How can you help your


Where can you get


Common disabilities

among children in


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.


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.

What does it mean to have

special educational needs?

Like Mrs Lim, your child may have special educational needs (SEN). What does it mean to have SEN?

A child is considered to have SEN when these three condi-tions are present:

Firstly, he has been diagnosed with a disability.

Secondly, he shows greater difficulty in learning as com-pared to the majority of his peers of the same age (e.g. difficulties in his social, language, academic or physical abilities).

Thirdly, he requires different or additional resources be-yond 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 dif-ficult to learn or to adapt socially. He may have difdif-ficulties:

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, hear-ing or physical mobility

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

a different pace. The progress made by children with SEN depends partly on whether they receive appropriate sup-port to meet their individual learning needs.

How can you help your child?

Many parents experience a range of emotions as they try to understand their child’s SEN. Some of these emotions in-clude 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.


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.

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 care-givers, 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.

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 un-derstanding as parents who have gone through similar ex-periences 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)

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.

Community-based agencies (e.g. family service centres)

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.


In Singapore

, persons with disabilities are de-fined as “those whose prospects of securing, retaining places and advancing in education and training institutions, employ-ment and recreation as equal members of the community are substantially reduced as a result of physical, sensory, intellec-tual 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 behaviours3.

Intellectual disability

Children with intellectual disability (ID) show significant dif-ficulties in cognitive and adaptive functioning. Cognitive func-tioning 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 in-cludes communication, self-care, home living, motor, social and interpersonal skills.

Common disabilities among

children in Singapore

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 treat-able) or sensorineural (which will require hearing aids or cochle-ar implants).

Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is a condition caused by brain injuries or abnor-malities. Children with cerebral palsy may suffer from loss of muscle coordination and motor skills, speech difficulties, learning disabilities or other problems.

2Definition of persons with disabilities adopted by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth

and Sports (MCYS) as used in the Enabling Masterplan 2007–2011.

3For 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/ current/2010/Autism%20Spectrum%20D.pdf.


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.

Learning Disabilities

Children with learning disabilities may have difficulties with reading, writing, spelling, recalling and organising informa-tion. This is caused by differences in the way their brains devel-oped. Learning disabilities are not due to disadvantaged back-grounds, poor teaching, lack of education or low intelligence. Many children with learning disabilities have very good think-ing and reasonthink-ing abilities. With appropriate support, these children can overcome their learning difficulties and achieve academic success.

Among children in mainstream schools, two of the most com-mon disabilities that affect learning are dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Dyslexia is a specific

learning difficulty that mainly affects the development of liter-acy and language-related skills. The core symptoms of ADHD include inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.




What is an assessment

of special educational


Who should conduct

the assessment?

What happens next?

Questions to ask the

professionals w


assessed your child

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?”


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.

Nurture a close

and 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.

Eric’s medical Reports Eric’s First Year Eric’s First Year Assignment s School ASSESSM ENT

What is an assessment of

special educational needs?

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 for-mal assessment by a qualified professional or team of pro-fessionals is needed to best determine your child’s special educational needs (SEN).

A formal assessment of SEN is based on a variety of assess-ment tools, with careful analyses of all findings from differ-ent sources. A single assessmdiffer-ent 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 high-light his strengths and difficulties in key areas of functioning – developmental, learning, academic and social. The pro-fessional should provide a clear diagnosis of your child’s condition and his learning needs. Bear in mind that a diag-nosis does not change your child, rather, it explains him. Most importantly, the assessment should include clear ommendations for intervention and support. These

rec-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 quali-fied 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.singapor-epsychologicalsociety.org/2011/?page_id=60).

If you suspect that your child has SEN and you are consid-ering a formal assessment, you should discuss assessment


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.

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?

options with his school teachers. Depending on the difficulties dis-played, 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. psy-chologist, 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 rec-ommended strategies. For some children, their needs may be bet-ter served in a special education (SPED) school. The next chapbet-ter will help you understand the different curricula and programmes offered in these schools.


Choosing the

right school


How do you decide

on the best school

for your child?

What can a mainstream

school provide?

What do special

education schools


Case examples of

children with special

educational needs

Mrs Lim


“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.


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 schools.

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 re-quires a high level of support, a SPED school may be better

for him. For example, he may require a specialised curricu-lum, customised classroom instructions (e.g. visual commu-nication), 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.

What can a mainstream

school provide?

If your child has mild SEN, he may be supported in a main-stream 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. Main-stream schools also run learning support programmes to help children who may need help in basic reading and mathematics.

If your child has mild impairments in hearing, vision or phys-ical mobility, additional support services can be arranged for him by his mainstream school. For example, the school can seek assistance from voluntary welfare organisations



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, such as the Asian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA) and Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf) for train-ing in the use of specialised equipment (e.g. assistive tech-nology devices, motorised wheelchairs) and for advice for teachers on strategies to help your child in school.

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 www.moe.gov.sg/education/primary/files/primary-one-reg-istration-insert.pdf.)

What do special education

schools offer?

If your child requires a greater level of support and is un-able 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

reading and writing skills that are needed for daily living. For children who are able to follow the mainstream curricu-lum, there are some SPED schools that prepare students for national examinations such as the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).

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 commu-nicating 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-advo-cacy and awareness, toileting, dressing and feeding). Your child will also be given opportunities to develop his inter-ests 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. Increasingly, SPED school students are being prepared for entry into the workforce. A few SPED schools now offer vo-cational education programmes that lead to national cer-tification. To enhance students’ employability after gradu-ation, 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 inter-act with peers from the mainstream schools through part-nerships with mainstream schools in the neighbourhood. Joint activities are planned for the students so that they can interact and learn from one another.


Case examples of children

with special educational needs

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. 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, hy-drotherapy 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 sup-port services such as counselling, provision of financial as-sistance, and caregiver and sibling support, to ensure holis-tic 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 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 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 wheelchair-accessible.

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

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.

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 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.

4REACH is a community-based mental health service

to help students with emotional, behavioural and/or developmental disorders. Visit www.reachforstudents.com for more details.



to a special




How do you apply to a

special education


What is the SPED school

application form?

How do you complete

the SPED school

application form?

When do you apply?

What happens after y


submit the SPED school

application form?

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.


Work closely

with your referring agency. It will assist you with completing and submitting the form to your first choice SPED school.

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 chil-dren 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.

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 Interven-tion Programme for Infants & Children (EIPIC) Centres, and pri-vate professionals who have worked closely with your child.

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

G. School report . . . II-1

Section III: To be completed by a medical doctor

H. Medical report . . . III-1

Section IV: To be completed by a psychologist

I. Psychological report . . . IV-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


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.

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. Con-tact 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 place-ment 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 tran-sition to the SPED school. Maintain this communication through-out the transition process to ensure his smooth transfer to the new 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 teach-ing and learnteach-ing 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 contact-ing them and browscontact-ing their websites for their intake information. Keep a calendar of important deadlines (e.g. closing dates for ap-plication, school admission dates).



SPED schools and their programmes


For children with

autism spectrum disorder


101 Bukit Batok West Avenue 3, Singapore 659168 Tel: 6265 7400

Fax: 6265 9400

Email: enquiry@edenschool.edu.sg www.edenschool.edu.sg

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 mean-ingful 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 meaning-fully, independently and successfully.

The curriculum domains include work habits, self-manage-ment, functional communication, social skills, functional aca-demics and vocational skills. The school engages professional expertise to teach gym, art and a variety of co-curricular activ-ities which include inline skating, swimming, music and move-ment, 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.


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: queries@pathlight.org.sg www.pathlight.org.sg

Pathlight School is an autism-focused school that offers main-stream 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 qualifications).

In addition to the usual academic subjects, the school also of-fers a non-academic curriculum, which focuses on social, com-munication and self-management. This curriculum includes social and thinking skills, daily living skills, work habits, emo-tional 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 aca-demics in a structured group setting.


1 Elliot Road, Singapore 458686 Tel: 6517 3800

Fax: 6517 3801

Email: enquiry@saac.org.sg www.saac.org.sg

St Andrew’s Autism School is a service of the St Andrew’s Au-tism Centre. It caters to children with auAu-tism 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 litera-cy and numeralitera-cy with social, work behaviours and vocational skills. Children and teens able to access reading and drama would be exposed to learning via enhanced language, com-munication 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 activi-ties 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.

Occupational, speech and music therapy cater to learners’ sen-sory 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 sup-port skills. The community is involved through programmes that engage volunteers and foster autism awareness in the community.

The school works closely with the Adult Services to align pro-grammes and practices to enable transition to post-school path-ways. The Anglican community of services is also tapped to af-ford more opportunities for the school children, and the adults.

For children with

mild intellectual disability



apsN Headquarters

900 New upper Changi Road, Singapore 467354 Tel: 6479 6252

Fax: 6479 6272

Email: hq_ar@apsn.org.sg www.apsn.org.sg

The APSN schools cater to children with mild intellectual dis-ability (MID) i.e. IQ range 50 – 70 with concurrent significant limitations in adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social and practical adaptive skills.


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.

18 Ang Mo Kio Ave 9, Singapore 569767 Tel: 6456 6922


caters to children with MID

and children with mild autism, between 13 and 18 years old. The school offers vocational education with domains in food & beverage, horticulture, hospitality services and retail opera-tions. The work exposure and work experience programmes are part of vocational education.

The other curriculum domains are literacy, numeracy, informa-tion & communicainforma-tion technology, science, social emoinforma-tional competencies, vocational guidance, aesthetics, physical edu-cation and co-curricular activities.

143 Alexandra Road, Singapore 159924 Tel: 6475 1511


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. lit-eracy, numlit-eracy, science and information technology); per-sonal-social skills (e.g. life skills, social competence, physical education, visual and performing arts, social and emotional competency); vocational education (e.g. vocational assess-ment, vocational guidance, hard skills, work experience) and co-curricular activities.

900 New upper Changi Road, Singapore 467354 Tel: 6445 8027


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 stu-dents from school to the society to live quality lives.

The school offers a competency-based vocational programme, providing broad industry skills, and practical knowledge lead-ing to Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) certifications. The programmes offered include foundational skills such as employability skills under the WSQ frameworks (e.g. work-place literacy and numeracy, communicate and relate effec-tively at the workplace, solve problems and make decisions, personal effectiveness, basic information communication technology, workplace safety and health; and industry specific skills).

These skills equip students with practical knowledge to per-form specific jobs well, such as environmental cleaning, F&B, housekeeping, landscaping and retail operations.

20 Delta Avenue, Singapore 169832 Tel: 6276 3818


6A Jurong West Street 52 Singapore 649297 Tel: 6561 9128 Fax: 6561 4133

Email: info@go.edu.sg www.go.edu.sg

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. Chil-dren 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 liv-ing skills (e.g. self-help skills, community livliv-ing skills and social skills); vocational education such as basic vocational skills training, work exposure programme, vocational as-sessment, vocational guidance and soft skills; and recre-ation and aesthetics.


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 develop-ment, cognitive as well as adaptive daily-living skills. 2. The basic and career programme (B and C) – whose

cur-riculum comprises the core learning areas of functional academics (e.g. literacy, numeracy, information technology and Mother Tongue), independent living skills (e.g. self-help, health/moral/sexuality education, home economics, social competence, work exposure and vocational educa-tion), 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 tech-nical 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 su-pervisor in an actual work environment.

For children with moderate

to severe intellectual disability




800 Margaret Drive, Singapore 149310 Tel: 6479 5655

Fax: 6479 0706

Email: minds@minds.org.sg www.minds.org.sg

MINDS special schools provide special education to children with intellectual disability, aged 7 to 18 years including chil-dren 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 stu-dents with a focus on helping them to function and integrate into society. The curriculum includes:

1. English language 2. Mathematics 3. Health education 4. Social competency skills 5. Domestic science 6. Physical education 7. The Arts

8. Science

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 ba-sic independent living skills such as toileting, dressing, feeding and grooming skills.

Additionally, the school offers a range of co-curricular and en-richment activities which include uniform groups, sports, infor-mation and communications technology, and the arts. The school also organises modular activities such as educational trips, rock-wall climbing and camping trips.

MINDS Fernvale Gardens School 7 Fernvale Road, Singapore 797635 Tel: 6481 6697

Fax: 6483 2631

Email: fgs@minds.org.sg 

MINDS Lee Kong Chian Gardens School 802 Margaret Drive, Singapore 149311 Tel: 6473 8332

Fax: 6473 4776


MINDS Towner Gardens School 1B Lengkong Lima, Singapore 417557 Tel: 6446 2612

Fax: 6243 7498

Email: tgs@minds.org.sg

MINDS Woodlands Gardens School

30 Woodlands Ring Road #01-01, Singapore 737883 Tel: 6468 0566

Fax: 6468 2142

Email: wgs@minds.org.sg

For children with

multiple disabilities



11 Lorong Napiri, Singapore 547532 Tel: 6511 5280

Fax: 6511 5281

Email: awwaschool@awwa.org.sg www.awwa.org.sg

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.



Cerebral Palsy Centre

65 Pasir Ris Drive 1, Singapore 519529 Tel: 6585 5600

Fax: 6585 5603

Email: spastic@pacific.net.sg www.spastic.org.sg

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 old.

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 de-mands 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.





margaret drive sCHOOl 501 Margaret Drive Singapore 149306 Tel: 6472 7077 Fax: 6475 9739 YisHuN park sCHOOl 15 Yishun Street 61 Singapore 768548 Tel: 6482 2592 Fax: 6482 2593 www.rainbowcentre.org.sg

The two Rainbow Centre schools provide special education to children with multiple disabilities and with mild to severe au-tism, 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

chil-dren with autism, between 7 and 18 years old. The chilchil-dren 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.

Vocational programme is offered for those 13 years and above.

For children with

sensory impairment


1 Sallim Road, Singapore 387621 Tel: 6749 8971

Fax: 6749 8976

Email: admin@canossian.edu.sg www.canossian.edu.sg

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 stream secondary schools. Those who are not placed in main-stream secondary schools will be placed in mainmain-stream voca-tional 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 listen-ing, spoken language and interactive skills.

Through the school’s Inclusion Programme, children are placed in mainstream primary schools to learn alongside their hear-ing classmates. Canossian School has forged strong partner-ships with Canossa Convent Primary School and MacPherson Primary School for the Inclusion Programme. Both schools are located within walking distance from Canossian School.



51 Toa Payoh Rise, Singapore 298106 Tel: 6250 3755

Fax: 6250 5348

Email: lighthouse@lighthouse.edu.sg www.lighthouse.edu.sg

Lighthouse School serves primarily children with visual im-pairment and children with hearing imim-pairment, 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 curriculum.

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 edu-cation 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-voca-tional skills.

The programmes offered by Lighthouse School are as follows: 1. Mainstream programme for children with visual


2. Mainstream programme for children with hearing impairment

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 www.moe.gov.sg