Please ensure ‘special needs’ education does not destroy children’s lives
Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching’s stand on the ministry’s “zero reject policy”, i.e. that no special needs child should be left out of mainstream schooling is a move in the right direction.
However, it needs to be pointed out that mainstream schools are sorely lacking in proper facilities and teachers who are trained, and even more importantly, experienced, in handling such children.
An autistic four-year-old child in my neighbourhood was sent to a nearby home school which had experience in handling autistic children. Physically the child was perfect. She was able to do what children of her age can do, like dressing, going to toilet, eating, joining in play with other children, albeit not as actively as the normal children.
She had a speech problem and was only making sounds “aa..” “aa..”. Her hearing was normal.