DSA’s Children Services endeavours to promote services for children with Down syndrome from pre-school ages up to the age of 16. Through these years, our team has both conceptualised and implemented plans to provide more services and support to its members. Children Services plans to expand on its current provision of services to foster closer working relationships to support the schools, students and their families.
Integration Facilitation Support Programme (IFSP):
DSA believes that some, if not all, children with Down syndrome will benefit from education in mainstream kindergartens and schools. The IFSP was initiated to support the increasing number of children with Down syndrome who are enrolled in Kindergartens and Primary Schools. The programme also provides support to the school and to the parents.
To support children with Down syndrome enrolled in mainstream pre-school and primary school and also provide support for the school and family. IFSP is a:
Three pronged support
- Support to the students in mainstream schools
- Support to the mainstream teachers and typically developing peers in school
- Support to the family
The main focus of IFSP (Integration Facilitation Support Programme) for the students with Down syndrome in the mainstream schools, are to instil appropriate skills to student to adjust to the high demands of mainstream education. Increase academic gains by providing on site academic support by trained DSA staffs in the school. Tuition/remedial programs to support the children with Down syndrome e.g. in (academic subjects), implementing effective learning strategies e.g. (working with manipulative skills, deconstructing syllables for language, proper usage/implementation of correct learning styles). Plan and monitor and evaluate child’s progress such as writing and monitoring Individual Education Plan (IEP). Increase educational options for Children with Down syndrome through developing an appropriate model of inclusion in mainstream pre and primary schools.
Provide necessary modification of the current lesson plans to help the children to cope up with the pressure of the mainstream curriculum. School based consultancy services, working with the mainstream teachers, providing teacher trainings, workshops, and talks, providing mainstream teachers with different effective strategies that work best for children with Down syndrome etc.
Family support – linking families with school, teachers, necessary information available in the community, providing families with good home teaching strategies, connecting to parent support group and providing them with available activities for their child.
IFSP (Integration Facilitation Support Programme) Aims to empower:
1. Child attending mainstream school - academic gains and social skills, language development, initiation of game/play activities shaped by typically developing peers in the school.
2. Family - behaviour management skills and specific teaching strategies, new information.
3. Mainstream teachers – training and self management/ behaviour management skills, effective teaching strategies, provide information to manage children with special needs along with Down syndrome.
DSA Facilitation officers engaged with the schools:
- Share with teachers on how to manage and engage the child.
- Adapt learning materials into manageable portions for the child.
- Promote acceptance and appropriate social interaction between children.
- Offer sharing session for teachers’ professional development.
- Engage with parents on the child’s progress.
As part of its ongoing efforts to provide support for children with Down syndrome in mainstream education, DSA’s Integration Facilitation Support Programme (IFSP) serves to support children with Down syndrome in mainstream pre-schools and primary schools.
- In its continuing outreach and partnership with mainstream schools, DSA is providing a range of school based consultancy services, which include:
- Providing teacher training in the school through imparting specific strategies in assisting children with Down syndrome make academic gains.
- Training teachers in behaviour management strategies to remediate behaviour problems for the child with Down syndrome by directly working on-site with the teacher in the school and classroom.
- Providing workshops and talks to schools in understanding and working with children with Down syndrome.
Our Children Education Services currently working with more than seven Mainstream Primary schools. we have a team of highly qualified Special Education Teachers who actually provide supports to all the mainstream Kindergartens and Primary schools, for persons with Down syndrome.
Education Enrichment Programme:
In addition to the integration facilitation programme, Children Services is also providing Education Enrichment Programmes during School holidays. The main focus of this service is to provide practical and functional literacy and numeracy skills to our clients. The Education Enrichment Programmes have been very successful in the past and Children Education Services intend to continue it in future.
Looking into the future, DSA strives to serve as a link between schools, students and parents and will coordinate the programmes to ensure that its set objectives are met. It will also establish integration friendly environments through practical on-site recommendations and on-going consultation.
Research Study on the Inclusion of Children with Down syndrome in Mainstream Primary Schools
In 2007, DSA started a research project to study the inclusion of children with Down syndrome in mainstream primary schools. DSA(s) placed children in the mainstream schools. These children benefitted highly with this inclusion model. It is this research that actually paved our ways towards the IFSP model in the mainstream schools and kindergartens.
Research and development is an ongoing process. Thus our research development and finding is also continuing with our Integration Facilitation Support Programme (IFSP). DSA(s) is doing this research with the support of NIE (National Institute of Education), to develop more ways into an integrated education.
DSA strongly believes that new efforts need to be invested in providing opportunities for students with Down syndrome to be included within mainstream schools in Singapore. In light of the successful inclusion of children with Down syndrome in many countries throughout the world, the evidence of which is documented in the international research literature, DSA believes that academic and social inclusion for children with Down syndrome are possible within mainstream schools, given the appropriate accommodations and supports.
DSA hopes to present and publish findings from this study at upcoming conferences and seminars.
September – December 2011
Société Générale Private Banking (Asia Pacific) Education Enrichment Programme