Whether there are sufficient places for autistic students

Published Date: 06 February 2017 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Desmond Choo, Tampines GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) (a) whether there are sufficient places for autistic students awaiting entry into special needs institutions; (b) what is the current average waiting time; and (c) what are the plans to make available more educational opportunities and support for students with autism.

Response

1. In recent years, we are seeing an increase in the number of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), resulting in an increase in demand for Special Education (SPED) school places for these children. Many of these children with ASD attend different SPED schools, including those that serve students with other disabilities.

2. Overall, there are sufficient places in our SPED schools. But some parents have a preference to place their child with ASD into a SPED school of their choice and in particular an ASD-specific school. The waiting time for admission into these schools can range from 3 months to more than a year depending on the school’s capacity and the relative demand, as well as student factors such as the complexity of the particular child’s needs, and availability of the right mix of staff to support his or her needs. Where there is a waitlist, MOE has, upon request, facilitated placement into an alternative SPED school which is appropriate for the child’s specific disability profile.

3. Children diagnosed with ASD have diverse needs and may require more specialised and intensive intervention to support their learning. To cater to these needs, MOE is working with various VWOs to expand the overall capacity of the ASD-specific schools. We are also working closely with NCSS and SPED schools to recruit more teachers and allied professionals. MOE, together with NCSS, will continue to closely monitor SPED school places, infrastructure, quality, as well as staffing levels to ensure the timely placement of students with moderate to severe ASD needs.

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