There will soon be more places available in special education (SPED) schools for children with moderate to severe Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Three Government-funded SPED schools - Autism Association Singapore's Eden School, AWWA School and Rainbow Centre - will each be opening one additional campus from the second half of this year, announced the Ministry of Education (MOE) on Wednesday (May 24).
The three new campuses will be able to take in a total of 75 more students per year.
MOE said this is in response to the increase in demand for ASD programmes offered by Government-funded schools run by Voluntary Welfare Organisations, as there has been an increase in the reported number of such students "who require specialised and intensive intervention to support their learning".
“BIG BOOST” TO NUMBER OF PLACES OFFERED
The expansion of the three schools will be a "big boost" to the number of places offered to children who need special education, said Senior Minister of State for Education Janil Puthucheary.
“With the 75 new places per year that we are going to offer, to every Singaporean child who has a need for special education, we can say you have a place,” he said during a visit to Rainbow Centre's Yishun Park School.
“There's been an increase in demand for places for children with an autistic spectrum disorder for a variety of reasons. One is, we are getting better at diagnosing this and diagnosing it earlier. We are also getting better at persuading families that there's something we can do about this. We can provide a meaningful education opportunity for these children," he added.
Eden School's new campus will be at the site of the former Hong Kah Primary School, while AWWA school's facility will be at the site of the former Bedok West Primary School. Rainbow Centre, meanwhile, will have its new campus at the site of the former Si Ling Secondary School.
Before the new campuses are ready, two of the schools - Eden and AWWA - will operate out of other school sites, so that there are able to take in more students from 2018 and the second half of 2017 respectively, said MOE.
Rainbow Centre will take in more students at its additional campus from 2018.