Ideal way to integrate special needs children with others

As a special needs teacher, I share the views and concerns raised by Mr Cheng Choon Fei (Limits to integrating special needs kids in regular schools; Nov 20).

One pertinent question, however, still remains to be addressed.

If children in normal schools who show tendencies of learning difficulty are not identified early enough, how is the teacher, on top of his normal workload, expected to cope with the psychological, social and educational demands of these children?

The ideal scenario would be to have special units within the premises of mainstream schools, where the children with special needs are initially integrated for only non-academic subjects.

Even in this case, the utmost importance and priority should be given to adequate manpower in the form of teacher aides.

This system worked well where I was teaching at an international school, which had a special unit within the premises of the mainstream school.

Let us look at integration as a seamless flow from the special unit into the mainstream school, so that children with special needs are comfortable when functioning out of their comfort zone.

Padmini Kesavapany (Mrs)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2018, with the headline 'Ideal way to integrate special needs children with others'. Print Edition | Subscribe