Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song (Aljunied): Parents of children with special needs face a complex dilemma when making educational choices for their children. A wide range of services is available at various price points but parents are largely left on their own to identify the optimal ones.
Could ECDA provide more one-stop advisory services for parents? This will help ease the anxiety that many parents of special needs children feel.
For children who require medium to high levels of early intervention support, such services can be prohibitively expensive. While ECDA does provide subsidised support through the Early Intervention Programme for Infants & Children (EIPIC) programme, EIPIC centres have wait times ranging from three to 18 months and most provide a limited number of hours of intervention a week. This requires parents to turn to additional services that can cost thousands more every month.
Can ECDA work with EIPIC providers to increase the capacity and range of services provided so that children can receive all the early intervention support they require from the same centre? A centralised provision of early intervention services can bring economies of scale which can reduce costs for parents.
Children who require lower levels of early intervention support can attend mainstream Primary schools but may still require supplemental support services like occupational therapy.
Can MOE provide an integrated special needs support programme at mainstream schools? This will enable children with special needs to thrive in such environments and reduce the cost and inconvenience borne parents for external support services.
7 March 2022
Ministry of Education