Report by Down Syndrome Association (Singapore) (DSA)(S)

Community Highlights See the true campaign by the National Council of Social Service

The National Council of Social Service (NCSS) embarked on a collaborative project known as Disability Awareness Campaign – See the True Me in 2016. The project aims to raise awareness and understanding of disabilities in Singapore. The campaign was launched in June 2016 and had garnered positive feedback. Ms. Chen Wanyi, one of our persons with Down syndrome from Down Syndrome Association (Singapore), was one of 4 ambassadors who participated in this nationwide awareness project.

As an ambassador, Ms Chen’s story and picture was featured throughout our island nation in media platforms related to the campaign such as posters and social media. The project received support and encouragement from people with and without disabilities throughout our island nation.

Do visit this website to see Ms Chen Wanyi’s story. <http://seethetrueme.sg/stories/>

Enabling Masterplan 3 Overview

In April 2016, Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Tan Chuan Jin, announced the setting up of a Steering Committee to develop the 3rd Enabling Masterplan. The Committee is led by Ms Anita FAM, comprised 22 members from the people, public and private sectors, including persons with disabilities and caregivers. The masterplan will be based on the following 4 thrust in the next 5 years.

  • Key Thrust 1: Improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities
  • Key Thrust 2: Supporting caregivers
  • Key Thrust 3: Building the community
  • Key Thrust 4: Building an inclusive society

Enabling Masterplan (2017– 2021) will build on the efforts of the past two Enabling Masterplans. Its strategies complement Singapore’s efforts to progressively realise obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which Singapore ratified in 2013.

World Down Syndrome Day 2017 (WDSD)

DSA (S) will be commemorating World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), a global awareness day, which is typically observed on 21 March annually, and has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. This year, DSA Singapore is celebrating WDSD at our Buddy Walk and Carnival held on 18 March 2017. This year, we experienced an overwhelming participation numbers with more than 600 participants. DSA (S) is privileged to be able to invite our Health minster Mr. Gan Kim Yong to officially launch our celebrations.

Overseas Dance Trip to Canberra Australia

Eight dancers from DSA (S) are performing our first Australian debut at the Bold Festival in Canberra Australia 2017. The title of the dance item is Small Steps.

Small Steps choreographed by DSA (S) dance instructor Mr Shahrin Johry who is renowned locally and internationally explores people taking small steps to make a difference in our community.

Our dancers use this express piece to create awareness to the public that our special needs community possesses rich talents and artistry to hold their own in an international art platform.

Being a Singaporean representative to the festival, our dancers are proud to fly our flag and representing not only our community but our island nation in Australia. This is a bold expression of our passion to perform on an international dance festival.

With the success of our project, we hope that people are more receptive and more open to accept art works by people with Down syndrome. Through the Bold festival, DSA (S) celebrates and gives voice to the talents of our members.

M1 Peer Pleasure Festival

The Speech and Drama learners at the DSA (S) will be participating in an integrated national youth arts festival known as M1 Peer Pleasure Festival from 1 to 4 August 2017. The drama production will be performed at the Esplanade, Singapore’s premier and world renowned performing arts theatre. The participation in this production would showcase our learner’s speech and drama talents to a wider general audience.

M1 Peer Pleasure Youth Theatre Festival seeks to fill a gap in the current landscape by providing a platform for young people in Singapore who are between the ages 13–25 to stage productions at professional theatre venues under the guidance of professional theatre practitioners for audiences young and old. These creative collaborations enable the Singaporean youth to learn how to work with others, to better appreciate the complexities of the social issues that inform their plays and to express their unique perspectives to a wider audience through honing their craft in drama and theatre-making.

Education Infant Toddler Programme

DSA(S) started their first Infant and Toddler Programme (ITP) started on 16 November 2015. ITP is an innovative play-based programme to equip parents with knowledge and skills to nurture and raise their infants and toddlers up to the age of 36 months. The programme is both child- and family- centric with mandatory parent accompaniment.

Currently the programme supports 10 infants/toddlers and families to strengthen and compliment their parenting journey. It is the only intervention program in Singapore currently that caters to very young infants. Through the programme, our parents are engaged professionally within a family community context thereby laying the foundations for achievement across the child’s formative years.

DSA(S)’s Integration Facilitation Support Programme (IFSP) is a programme which supports children with Down syndrome enrolled in regular schools and kindergartens. We are currently supporting 20 children in mainstream educational settings. DSA(S)’s Education Enrichment Programme (or EEP) which commenced in August 2015 provides fun hands-on learning for children with Down syndrome and it emphasises functional literacy and numeracy. Some of the modules covered till date includes Money, Health and Personal Hygiene, and Learning Time.

Training & Employment

DSA(S) runs talks and workshops for families of persons with Down syndrome to better equip them with more knowledge and skills on various health care, educational, and developmental areas for parents and caregivers. From the calendar year 2016 DSA’s Family Support Services has served more than 300 unique caregivers.

DSA(S) runs the Adult Enhancement Programme (AEP) which is a 21st century contemporary programme targeted at young adults with intellectual disabilities who have graduated from special schools at 18 years old. It is a community integrative learning model which embraces as well as leverages on the community as a training platform. This learning model develops and nurtures its clients holistically, with a strong emphasis on self-determination and empowerment. The programme currently supports 35 clients today, of which 7 adult learners are in part-time employment.

For the first quarter of 2017, DSA (S) AEP partnered our education mentors from Centre for Disability Studies from Sydney, Australia, to undertake active support training from 27 February to 1 March 2017. In addition, DSA also organized a separate active support workshop conducted by the education mentors for parents and caregivers as well.

Active Support is a way of implementing a person centred approach. It is about supporting people to be meaningfully and actively engaged in their own lives regardless of their level of disability and support needs. Active Support helps parents and support staff provides just the right amount of support so people can be included and connect with others.

Medical Report by Dr. Bhavani Sriram

The Down syndrome clinic continues to operate on a weekly basis and provides structured follow up for ages newborn to 17 years of age. The transitional planning has commenced and a structured medical report is provided to families.

The clinic not only offers medical input but also provides support to families on social and emotional needs of the children with Down syndrome.

A collaborative trial with Duke university to look at cognitive memory and training was also completed last year and awaiting the results and publication.

Contributed by: Dr. Bhavani Sriram, Medical Advisor, DSA(S) Alvin Ho, Assistant Director (Services), DSA(S) Vetted by: Moses Lee, Executive Director, DSA(S)