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Special needs support in Singapore: Guide for parents of children with learning differences

By: Jessamy Smit

Singapore may be small, but when it comes to schools, therapy centres and organisations for children with special needs, there is a lot of variety out there. But appreciating that this can be tough to research when you’re considering moving your family to Southeast Asia, we’ve pulled together a roundup of recognised specialists to help parents find the best available therapy for kids with learning difficulties. From Early Intervention Programmes and Special Education Schools to therapy centres and support groups for mum and dad, we hope you’ll find the right option in the list below.

Speech and language therapist Melanie Yates at Treetop Therapy Centre
Speech and language therapist Melanie Yates at Treetop Therapy Centre

Dyslexic Association of Singapore (DAS) Academy
A private education institution led by a multi-disciplinary team of lecturers with extensive experience in teaching learners with dyslexia and associated learning differences, the DAS Academy offers programmes from foundation to tertiary levels. They also run certificate courses and workshops for parents and caregivers to equip them with skills and tips for supporting children at home.
Rex House, 73 Bukit Timah Road #05-01, 229832

Dover Court Preparatory School
Dover Court’s Department of Supportive Education offers a multifaceted comprehensive programme for children with special needs from 3 to 18 years of age. Classes are small, between 6-8 students, and each Individual Needs Class is twinned with a Mainstream Class for everything from assemblies and field trips to sports days and concerts. Where appropriate, this inclusive approach also extends to academic subjects.
301 Dover Road, 139644

The Excelerate V.2 Program
A neurodevelopmental preschool offering full and half-day formats, the Excelerate V.2 Program is a one-stop daily intensive therapy service offering everything from speech therapy and fine and gross motor training, to functional life skills and cognitive training, plus regular parent-therapist updates.
19 Tanglin Road, #05-29/31 and #05-10/11 Tanglin Shopping Centre, 247909

Wee Care
Tanglin, Everton Park and Polliwogs (East Coast)
Wee Care’s range of special needs’ services is designed to assist and enrich the lives of children with mild to severe developmental needs. They offer a variety of programmes including individual and group therapy sessions, First Starts (a primer for a child’s hoped-for eventual step into a mainstream setting) and Home Buddy (a programme for children with autism).

Treetop Therapy Centre
A team of Speech and Language Therapists use evidence-based principles and a Reggio Emilia Approach to provide a whole range of services, from one-on-one intervention and in-school teaching to training and supervision for parents. Strong links are fostered with related educational and health professionals.
#01-01 Rutherfod Science Hub, 87 Science Park Drive, 118260

Finding the right specialist for your child is key
Finding the right specialist for your child is key

Integrated International School

41 Sunset Way, #02-03/04 Clementi Arcade, 597071
This school offers two educational approaches; Mainstream and Support for children with learning differences and unique needs. IIS has an inclusive environment and combines a solid academic programme with remediation of lagging skills. The uniqueness of the Specialised Teaching and Responsive Students (S.T.A.R.S.) approach lies in its multidisciplinary team of behavioural therapists, counsellors, psychologists, occupational therapists and teachers who work together to design individualised education plans.

The Winstedt School
10 Winstedt Road, Block C #01-15/16, 227977
Set up in 2002 to help the differentiated learner, the Winstedt School provides support for students with emotional or behavioural problems, and those with language-based learning difficulties or disabilities. Their Learning Support Centre bridges learning gaps and helps to lay the foundation for continued learning, while their Integrated Therapy provides occupational and speech and language therapy to children from infancy to teenagers.

Spark
Become a member of SPARK, a non-profit organisation for the promotion of ADHD research and knowledge, and you’ll be able to join their regular meetings for parents. They host talks across a range of subjects. The next one on 3 May 2014 is called ‘Building Resilience in your Children’ and will be delivered by Wendy Wand Chua-Sullivan, author of All Kids R Gifted.

 

So what exactly is art therapy? We find out from Art Therapy International Centre
So what exactly is art therapy? We find out from Art Therapy International Centre

Kaleidoscope Therapy Centre
#07-05/06 The Grandstand, 200 Turf Club, 287994
Providing support for the emotional, developmental, social and academic needs of your child, Kaleidoscope offers occupational therapy, speech language therapy, physiotherapy, social/behavioural support, creative therapy, play therapy and educational support services. Services include individual and group therapy, as well as parent programmes.

Mighty Oaks Learning Centre
Phoenix Park, 247976
Conveniently located just off Tanglin Road, Mighty Oaks Learning Centre offers individualised educational and therapeutic plans for young children with developmental challenges within the setting of small groups. Based on the DIR/Floortime approach and the Learn Tree Model developed by Dr Stanley Greenspan, there is a strong emphasis on social communication, while also addressing any attentional, sensory or motor-based challenges the child may have.

Genesis School for Special Education
9/11 West Coast Road, 127296
Genesis offers child-centred, family-oriented education to children with special learning needs who are diagnosed within the normal IQ range or above. Their services start with Early Intervention for young children aged from 2.5 considered to be at risk for normal development based on current developmental milestones, and continue through preschool, kindergarten and primary and secondary school academic levels, as well as providing life skills and pre-vocational classes for older students who have reached their academic potential. There’s also a parent support group where caregivers can share their knowledge, resources and experiences.

Dynamics Therapy Centre
Orchard Road and Dunearn Road
A multi-disciplinary outcome-focused therapy centre for children, Dynamics has over 12,000 square foot of space across its branches. These include sensory integration gyms and rooms specially designed for speech therapy, social skills training, fine motor skills training, educational therapy, assessments, and group sessions. They also offer an Early Intervention Programme and Literacy and Dyslexia Intervention.

Rainbow Centre
Margaret Drive and Yishun Park
A non-profit organisation for children with special needs, Rainbow runs Special Education Schools and Early Intervention Programmes. All of the Centre’s programmes adopt a holistic developmental curriculum in the areas of language and communication skills, cognitive skills, social and emotional skills, fine and gross motor skills and adaptive daily living skills. They are carried out by a multi-disciplinary team of trained teachers, Speech Language Therapists, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Music and Art Therapists.

Total Communication Therapy Pte Ltd
Dunearn Road
This centre boasts an international team of qualified Speech Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, and Educational Therapists.  It offers services for preschoolers and school aged children,  intervening in areas such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, specific language impairment, autism spectrum disorders, sensory integration difficulties etc.  Centrally located at Dunearn Road, the centre has been operating since 2009.  It maintains strong collaboration with schools here and organizes training for teachers and learning support trainers throughout the year.

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