National Day Awards: She is there for children with special needs

Mrs Seah with her students (from left) Joshua Ng Cai Ming, 16; Malcom Yew Kai, 15; Sarah Nurul Ain Ismail, 12; and Chin Ming Hui, 14. She started structured CCAs for the school's students. Now, there are 18 such CCAs in areas such as sports and the a
Mrs Seah with her students (from left) Joshua Ng Cai Ming, 16; Malcom Yew Kai, 15; Sarah Nurul Ain Ismail, 12; and Chin Ming Hui, 14. She started structured CCAs for the school's students. Now, there are 18 such CCAs in areas such as sports and the arts.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Madam Chiew Ah Hiang (Mrs Ruby Seah)

Principal of AWWA School

Public Administration Medal (Bronze)

Like a proud mother, Mrs Ruby Seah, 55, can recall the achievements of the students under her charge at the AWWA School for children with special needs.

She fondly recounts the girl who arrived at the school in a wheelchair. With the help of therapists and teachers, the girl can now climb the stairs.

ENSURING CHANCES TO EXCEL

I'm most proud that I'm able to see my kids progress, and to provide the opportunities for them to excel - not only for my students but also my teachers.

MRS RUBY SEAH, principal of AWWA School.

The school has 280 students from seven to 18 years old, and Mrs Seah is proud of them all. Since she was seconded from the Education Ministry to be its principal in 2011, she has seen its graduatessecure jobs in sheltered workshops.

"You don't see this kind of progress in a child in mainstream schools. I'm most proud that I'm able to see my kids progress, and to provide the opportunities for them to excel - not only for my students but also my teachers."

The school in Hougang has 142 teachers and therapists.

Its students have moderate to high support needs, and cognitively have IQs of 50 points and below on average, said Mrs Seah.

She started structured co-curricular activities (CCAs) for them, and now there are 18 such CCAs in areas such as sports and the arts.

The school uses iPad apps and computer programs to help students learn.

Charissa Yong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2016, with the headline 'She is there for children with special needs'. Print Edition | Subscribe