Children with Mild Developmental Needs Require Continual Support | SPD - Singapore

Children with Mild Developmental Needs Require Continual Support

30/09/2016
 
 
It was reported that about 4,000 children were diagnosed with mild development needs last year by the Child Development Programme (CDP) at the KK Women's and Children's Hospital and the National University Hospital, a 60 per cent increase from the about 2,500 new cases diagnosed in 2010. The increasing number of children diagnosed with developmental needs makes it necessary to expand help to this group of children. SPD executive director Mr Abhimanyau Pal shares the need for continual support for children with mild developmental needs in this letter published in Today Voices on 6 September 2016.
 
We are encouraged that more help will be available to children with mild developmental needs (“Programme for children with mild developmental needs to be expanded”; Aug 29).

With an increasing number of children diagnosed with developmental needs, the expansion of help to this group of children is timely. The first few years of a child’s life are particularly important periods of development.

Early intervention programmes could have a positive impact on the child’s cognitive development, language, and social and emotional development, thereby mitigating potential developmental delays and enhancing his or her readiness for mainstream preschool and primary school.

All children should be nurtured to maximise their abilities and be given equal opportunities to realise their potential. Besides early intervention, continual support could be strengthened to assist children in their developmental needs as far as possible.

For instance, transition planning from preschool to mainstream primary school is crucial to help children with special needs integrate into the new environment, while continual support through their primary and secondary school years helps improve their functional and academic performance.

An integrated approach is vital to create an effective learning environment for children with special needs. Their parents, teachers and allied educators play an important role in facilitating their development at home and learning in school, to improve intervention outcomes.

SPD’s Development Support Programme provides on-site intervention and learning support for preschoolers with mild developmental needs in mainstream kindergartens and childcare centres.

To equip preschool educators better, the multidisciplinary SPD team conducts a three-day course to help them identify and manage preschoolers with learning difficulties and behavioural issues.

Our Continuing Therapy Programme, the first medical outpatient rehabilitation programme here to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, supports children who require services such as speech and occupational therapies during their primary and secondary school years.

SPD believes in continual support for young ones with needs that may differ from a typically developing child. We hope there can be more structural support and capability-building initiatives in preschool and mainstream settings for children with special needs. Together with voluntary welfare organisations like SPD, we could work to help these children actualise their potential as they grow up.