Opening Of New Centre At Tampines Serving People With Disabilities In The East

Singapore, 30 June 2007 – Diagnosed with language delay and Central Auditory Processing Disorder, 8-year-old Ryan Ho has difficulty with his motor coordination and talking. This was a problem especially when he entered a mainstream primary school, but fortunately for him, Ryan found help at the Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD), which provided therapy services to help him cope in the classroom. Today, his handwriting and copying skills have improved, and his speech is more fluent too.

With the launch of the new SPD@Tampines, more children with developmental disabilities studying in mainstream schools can now benefit from the paediatric therapy services at SPD. Children on SPD’s waiting list, currently numbering at close to 100 persons, would now be able to receive early intervention therapy services at SPD. At present, there is a lack of affordable community rehabilitation providers supporting children with disabilities in mainstream schools.

SPD@Tampines will be officially opened on 30 June 2007 by Mr Mah Bow Tan, Minister for National Development and MP for Tampines GRC. The new centre targets to serve 600 people with disabilities, and will offer a range of services catering to children to adults with varying levels of disabilities.

Under the paediatric rehabilitation services at SPD@Tampines, therapists work with children with developmental disabilities of different ages through therapy sessions and workshops, to prepare them for school or to help them cope in mainstream education. Examples include working with children to improve their speech and communication, handwriting skills, fine motor skill coordination, among other areas.

In addition to the paediatric services, SPD@Tampines will also provide a rehabilitation service for adults, and a wellness centre serving people at risk of acquiring a physical disability. Therapists based at the centre will also provide therapy services for clients at home, for those unable to visit the centre.

With a local presence, SPD will also partner with community and grassroots organisations in the East to develop programmes for residents and to reach out to them. SPD is currently working with the PAP Community Foundation pre-schools in the area to identify children

with special needs who may benefit from early intervention to help them cope with the demands of pre-school.

The second centre will help relieve the waiting list as well as allow existing clients at Tiong Bahru to receive optimum treatment. Head of Therapy Services, Ms Tay Hwee Lin said, “We will now be able to see clients at Tiong Bahru more regularly as previously, we were trying to fit in as many clients as possible at the Tiong Bahru centre.”

“Setting up SPD@Tampines enables us to be closer to the homes of disabled people residing in the East. We also hope to work with the grassroots organisations so as to better serve disabled people here. Our aim is to have three centres by 2010 so that we will be able to reach out to disabled people all over Singapore. We will strive towards making SPD a truly community-based organisation serving people with physical disabilities,” said Dr Ow Chee Chung, Executive Director of SPD.

“Ryan’s condition has improved visibly. He is better in his motor coordination now, and we can understand him better too. And we love the therapists at SPD. Now that he has seen improvement, he is more motivated to attend therapy sessions. I don’t have to drag him anymore,” said Mrs Shirlene Wong, Ryan’s mother.

As a start to the official opening, almost 100 people comprising staff, management, clients, donors and other supporters of SPD will embark on an overnight walk on 29 June at 10.30pm beginning at SPD’s headquarters at Tiong Bahru. Their journey will end at SPD@Tampines at Tampines Street 83 the next morning, to signify the bringing of our services to the East. They will be joined by more than 250 others at Tampines Stadium.