Think your child may need some extra support as they navigate school life? Many international schools in Singapore have programmes and therapies that aid students who are facing challenges, be they learning difficulties, emotional issues, special needs or others. Find out more about what’s available from learning support, school counsellors, kids’ counselling plus therapy for kids.
Australian International School
AIS makes the academic wellbeing of students an absolute priority; the school strives to ensure that students and families receive the best care and up-to-date advice from their school counsellor and wellness team.
With the unprecedented change resulting from the COVID-19 situation, the school is using C.A.R.E.S. (Connection, Attitude, Relationships, Engagement, Safety). It’s a way for the school community to identify, monitor and address the social and emotional wellbeing of students through a regular self-reflection and reporting tool. This simple survey is delivered twice a term through their pastoral programme and is designed to capture a snapshot of how students are feeling at a given point in time. This data is used to have informed conversations about academic wellbeing with students, teachers and families.
Tips for parents from AIS
#1 Minimise screen time
Screen time can be part of a healthy lifestyle for teenagers when it’s balanced with other activities that are good for your child’s development and wellbeing. Physical activity keeps teenage bodies and minds fit and healthy. Teenagers need at least one hour of moderate exercise every day; this needs to be planned to balance it with other activities, including screen time.
#2 Making the most of the time with the family
While there has been no dearth of family time during the pandemic, it’s still important to make the most of it in an intentional and mindful manner! This is the opportunity to get creative with family time and strengthen the bonds or even explore new aspects of relationships. You can always invite family friends in Singapore to join or include the overseas extended family in a game of virtual charades.
– The AIS Wellbeing Team
Integrated International School Singapore
IIS aims to make every child feel included and valued; the school has a team of qualified specialists and therapists beyond the classroom to help students who need additional support. Therapies and programmes include behavioural therapy for kids, kids’ counselling by school counsellors, and also social skills training, and speech and occupational therapy.
Tips for parents from IIS
#1 Set attainable goals outside of academics for your child
It’s important to include creative and/or social-emotional life ambitions as goals. While being able to comprehend and interpret a piece of literature is an achievement worth celebrating, being able to deal effectively with teasing or implementing calming tools when angry instead of withdrawing or lashing out are also empowering goals to strive toward.
Goals don’t have to be complex; it’s about providing opportunities for your child to succeed and feel confident enough to handle life’s curve balls. Make it a family affair to identify each child’s personal goals and to revisit them so you can celebrate the attained goals or advise them. This collaborative approach helps children know their opinion matters; they have choices and they’re encouraged to make these for themselves.
#2 Have clear expectations for your child
Parents often discipline their children based on the premise that “they should know better”. However, we as parents should understand that children lack the life experience to “know better”. It’s important for parents to remain consistent in setting and maintaining their expectations because unless this happens, kids aren’t sure what’s expected of them. Most children crave structure and want to be cooperative; they just require clear rationales, encouragement and explanations as to what’s expected of them.
– Dr Vanessa von Auer, Clinical Psychologist
Melbourne Specialist International School Singapore
Melbourne Specialist International School (MSIS) works collaboratively with specialists and therapists within the school to support children (ages 3 to 25 years) with special needs. This is done through an arts-based programme that uses dance, drama, music and also visual arts to teach English, mathematics and daily life skills.
Tips for parents from MSIS
#1 How to manage an upset child
Routines are important for all children and especially for a child with ASD, developmental delays or ADHD. However, you may not always be able to avoid or prevent variations such as taking alternative transport to school or visit a school counsellor. Use a calming activity to soothe your child when you’re unable to remove the source of discomfort, such as playing their favourite music. If your child is older, involve them in solving the problem so they see that there’s a resolution.
– Mrs Shri, Clinical Psychologist at Psynaptica and for MSIS
#2 Tackling disruptive behaviour
When you try to alter disruptive behaviour, you can expect the intensity and rate of the said behaviour to increase. Speaking softly and slowly can often have a positive impact. Reducing potential control battles will also decrease the likelihood of severe disruptive behaviour. In addition, giving your child some control by providing choices can be quite effective. Provide continuous positive feedback, such as “Thanks for listening” and “You’re doing great”. Most importantly, remember the things you do before a disruptive behaviour occurs; it will give insight into the cause and help keep it from happening again.
– Molly Molejana, Lead Senior Teacher at MSIS