September 20, 2016
Enhancing Support for Students with Hearing Loss who Sign
MOE is enhancing support for students with moderate to severe hearing loss who need signing for communication at the primary and secondary levels:
(New) Primary-Level: Currently, primary-level students with moderate to severe hearing loss who sign are admitted into a Special Education school. Those who are able to access the national curriculum and have adaptive skills to learn in large-group settings will soon be able to enrol into an existing primary school, and learn alongside their mainstream peers. The designated primary school will be located in a central location and is projected to accept its first batch of such students in 2018. More details will be shared at a later stage.
Secondary-Level: Beatty Secondary School will replace Balestier Hill Secondary School and Boon Lay Secondary School as the secondary school designated for students with moderate to severe hearing loss who sign . Beatty Secondary School will commence its Secondary One intake of these students from 2017 onwards. With a small number of these students , locating them in a single designated secondary school will provide students with a greater sense of community, with more opportunities for mutual communication through signing, social interactions and peer support. This will also allow better pooling and strengthening of specialised resources within one location.
2. Designating a mainstream primary and secondary school will provide opportunities for students with moderate to severe hearing loss who sign to study and play alongside their mainstream peers in and outside of classroom lessons. It will also allow for a more seamless continuum of educational and community support for them that is important for the students’ social-emotional development. Current support for students with hearing loss is detailed in Annex A.
3. Designated schools have trained teachers to support the students with hearing loss. These teachers provide a range of school-based support including sign interpretation, in-class and pull-out academic support, social emotional support, and assistance in the use of Assistive Technology devices, such as FM systems. MOE will continue to leverage the expertise of The Singapore Association of the Deaf (SADeaf) to build staff capacity in the designated primary and secondary schools.
4. Dr Janil Puthucheary, Minister of State for Education, said: “This is a further extension of the support programmes MOE has in place for students with moderate to severe hearing loss who communicate through signing. Giving our students the opportunity to interact with and learn from one another is a very encouraging step towards forging a more inclusive society. In supporting the deaf community in Singapore, MOE will continue to work closely with SADeaf, which has a tremendous amount of knowledge about deaf education and the community’s rich cultural heritage.”
5. Ms Irene Yee, President of SADeaf, said: “This is an exciting time for all of us as this is a good step forward in providing quality education for deaf children. Sign language will be used as the language of conversation and to support instruction for such students in these schools. We are certain that deaf students will benefit tremendously from the integration with their hearing peers in the mainstream designated primary school. The provision of learning support for these students will also help them progress towards leading fulfilling lives and work towards building an inclusive society in Singapore.”