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Special Needs Schools in Singapore

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Special Needs Schools in Singapore

Postby AE » Wed, 22 Jan 2014 4:11 pm

Hi, We are considering relocating to Singapore for a few years with my husbands work. We have 2 boys who are turning 5 and 7 this year. Our 5yo has global developmental delay and ADHD. He talks but his speech isn't always understandable due to being born with a cleft palate (now repaired) and his developmental delays. In Australia he has just finished Kindy where he had an aide in the mainstream class room and also had speech therapy and occupational therapy weekly.
I have had a look on a few different sites for mainstream schools that also assist kids with additional needs, as I would like my boys to go to the same school. I was wondering if anyone on here has sent their children to Integrated International School, Dover Court or Winstedt School? If so, how did you find your experience, and were the schools genuinely trying to assist the children in the special needs/early intervention classes to be challenged and brought up into the mainstream classes, or were they quite happy to let the children work at their own pace and quite often plod along widening the gap between them and their peers? Any other additional help you think may be helpful would be appreciated. Thank you

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Special Needs School

Postby TryingTBBMom » Tue, 11 Feb 2014 7:02 pm

Dear AE

Singapore has a limited amount of schools that actually deal with Special Needs. Prepare yourself for the reality that your boys may have to go to 2 different schools. Your correct with mentioning IIS,Winstedt and Dover Court. Of the 3, Dover is the only that does have true mainstream.There is usually a long wait list. IIS says it does but your 5 and 7 year old will more than likely be lumped together in a small room. Indeed they can tailor an ILP but for a sibling that has no special needs it would be sacrificing his education. There are no facilities at IIS and the School are located above a Cold Storage in a strip mall. IIS is not just small its more along the line of home schooling. I am not saying that IIS is a bad school, just be sure to check it out in person before you commit. Many schools advertise they have LR but will take your non refundable application fee and then not accept your boy or both boys.
When I looked at IIS as an option for my child with ADHD he would have been in a room with ages ranging from 6-13, all with a range of learning disabilities.
If you can get into Dover then same school scenario could work out. I have heard both positive and negative about Dover and I do know it serves both streams in a correct fashion. I cannot comment on Winstedt, but have heard it is Special Needs? Learning Support Stream only.As many parents in your situation you will get desperate and feel hopeless.
If your from Australia you may want to look at Avondale. It's a NSW curriculum and a small mainstream school but do sometimes depending on the child have been open minded. The Admin is extremely helpful and will be straight up if they think they can work with your child/children.
The school is small but growing, they have limited facilities but they have play fields a small theater and offer art music tech PE and language. They have sporting teams and a nice community feel. It is mainstream but they have with been known to work with kids other schools have rejected for no Special Needs just ADHD or minor LR, and with great success.
Every situation is different, the best advice is to lower your expectations, be flexible, DO NOT believe the schools websites. You need to do school visits. You should gather the most positive of school and doctor reports and apply to at minimum 4 schools. REMEMBER
Many of the schools websites say they serve Learning Resource or Special Needs, but you must apply and pay first. You will not get a For-Profit school to even look at an applicant to see if they MAYBE and a big maybe even consider accepting your children. A Not- for-Profit or Christian school may advise prior or give you an indication but still there is no guarantees.
There are great resources/therapists outside the school structure but they will be expensive. Best of Luck!

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Postby movingtospore » Tue, 11 Feb 2014 8:38 pm

That is excellent advice. If without special needs -- you really need to question the schools rigorously. International Schools are a big business in Singapore, with business being the operative word. Many of them oversell what they actually do.

Good luck. I've no personal experience but I've heard that there are resources in the Singaporean community as well. Best I can offer is to contact the society MINDS - they might help provide some introduction (not for schools but extra support).

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Postby jk21 » Tue, 11 Feb 2014 9:38 pm

I will try and fill the question as to what Winstedt offers. Winstedt is a mainstream school that is geared to support kids who learn differently, think like dyslexia and ADHD. It uses a standard (UK?) curriculum. They keep the classes small and have an assistant in addition to the teacher. Then there are the OT/Speech/Learning Specialist/psychologist who round it out. So for someone coming from some of the western countries, like US/UK, Winstedt is a place for the kids who did okay in a standard classroom with some supports or learning style adaptations.

I can only speak in general terms about application process because it varies based on student age, say the process for a 5 year old as compared to a 10 year old. The prospective student does get assessed by OT and the learning specialist for math and literacy. It is to determine how/whether the school can meet the child's needs and determine correct class/service placement. So yes, there is an application fee involved but a good portion supports having the professionals meet your child.

I echo other posters who have commented that SG is a tough place to line up good educational options for a child who needs something slightly individualized.

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Location: singapore

Special Needs School

Postby TryingTBBMom » Wed, 12 Feb 2014 7:07 pm

Thanks JK21,
As a expat I really think it's important to give good honest and as accurate advice as we can. Trust me it's easy to fall into school bashing or worst a sense of hopelessness if you come to any country ill prepared.
New Family's need to know up front and prior to arriving what is available and what is not. Singapore offer more than many countries but far less than I was told and assumed.
Singapore has many great qualities most importantly a huge expat community that if you get connected it will ease the transition nicely.
Family's do need to know that things may not go as expected so with kids that do not fit the status quo they need to have a couple of back up plans.
So if anyone else has info please share…
Those of us with exceptional special kids will appreciate it!

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Joined: Mon, 19 Mar 2018

Re: Special Needs Schools in Singapore

Postby mommyme » Mon, 19 Mar 2018 4:25 pm

hi guys, i share your concern with the limited resources of education for children with special needs. been reading a lot of the comments in the forum and other articles too. :/
i think we're progressing, slowly but it's moving. this is a new preschool that i chanced upon earlier, hope this is something that may be beneficial for all here: ... n=addtoany
just sharing!

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