SPD - A Pioneer In Early Intervention Programmes For Children And Infants | SPD - Singapore
SPD - A Pioneer In Early Intervention Programmes For Children And Infants
SPD therapist interacting with children
The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) announced on 10 May the roll-out of the Development Support Programme (DSP) which provides children with mild learning disabilities with learning support and therapy intervention.
The rationale and concept of DSP is not new to SPD that had pioneered several early intervention initiatives in the last decade. SPD had offered a similar early intervention programme for children with mild learning disabilities as early as June in 2007 with the support of corporate organisations.
The programme was named Providing Access to Children with Early Support or PACES in short. Similar to DSP, PACES provided short term direct intervention and educational support services to children between three and six years old with developmental needs in their natural learning environment ie. the pre-schools, with the aim of improving their readiness for formal education.
The programme was renamed Therapy Outreach Programme for Pre-Schoolers, or TOPPS in short, in May 2010.
SPD’s early intervention programme for these children has evolved since its inception in 2007 to respond to service gaps in the pre-school sector. With funding from MSF in May 2012, the programme eventually adopted DSP as its official programme name.
“It is heartening to see that the fundamentals of our TOPPS model have been adopted on a national level. We started the programme with limited resources and are thankful to our corporate partners who believed in us. Many children had benefited from TOPPS and we believe with the Ministry’s support, we will be able to reach out and identify even more children who require help,” said Ms Joyce Wong, deputy director, Rehabilitation Services, SPD.
Between July 2007 and May 2012, close to 830 children had benefited from over 2,300 early intervention therapy sessions that SPD conducted through its PACES and TOPPS programmes. Enabling the pre-school sector The early intervention team had provided professional support to pre-school operators, teachers and parents to better equip them with skills to meet the special needs of the children under their care. This is done through formal and informal training sessions.
More recently, SPD has also started conducting training for teachers of childcare centres to equip them with a better understanding of the learning difficulties and behavioural issues that children with developmental delay face.
This is the Identification and Classroom Management (ICM) of Pre-Schoolers with Learning Difficulties course which was started in January 2013. The programme has attracted about 300 pre-school teachers so far.
“We hope by conducting such trainings, we could empower teachers and the pre-school sector in general with the skills and knowledge so that more children who need help can be identified earlier and receive the intervention support they require,” said Ms Zunaidah Binte Shahul Hamid, manager of SPD@Tampines and programme in-charge for DSP and ICM training.