Special education students to get more help beyond their schooling years

Students at Pathlight School’s two-year-old campus in Ang Mo Kio.
Students at Pathlight School’s two-year-old campus in Ang Mo Kio. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - From next year, all special education (Sped) schools will receive a guide to help their students move on after graduation.

The guide is titled Transition Planning For Living, Learning And Working - Making It Happen.

A training programme will also be made available to support Sped schools from 2017, to help students with post-school goals, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said in a statement on Wednesday (Nov 2).

Acknowledging that transiting out of school is challenging especially for Sped students, MOE said "careful planning and preparation is important for such students and their families".

Sped schools will also work more closely with their students from the age of 13, as well as their families, on post-school goals and help link them up with relevant services after they graduate. For instance, a student could have an Individual Transition Plan that would help him see which pathway best fitshis interests.

Meanwhile, a programme started in 2014 to help Sped students move on to the workplace has borne some fruit, said MOE, the Ministry of Social and Family Development, and disabilities support agency SG Enable, in a separate press release on Wednesday.

Eighty per cent of the students who took part in thisgoals School-to-Work Transition Programme found a job, with 83 per cent of them staying employed for at least six months.

The government agencies' statement said that students in the programme felt they had a sense of self-worth in being able to earn an income and contribute to their families. Parents were said to have found the programme helpful for their children to acquire work skills and habits such as getting along with co-workers. They also reported that their children had greater levels of self-confidence, independence and ability in carrying out daily activities.

Employers reported a more inclusive culture as their staff developed more positive attitudes towards people with disabilities.

The programme had started with students from five schools in 2014. They are from Pathlight School, APSN Delta Senior School, Grace Orchard School, Metta School and Minds Woodlands Gardens School.

The scheme starts in the students' graduating year and extends for up to one year after that. Schools and SG Enable assess and identify students with the potential to work and match them withsuitable job training based on their strengths and interests.

These students also receive workplace training and support from job coaches.