Special needs school uses virtual technology to teach pupils how to safely cross the road

President Halimah Yacob at the official opening of the Association for Persons with Special Needs Chaoyang School in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 9 on Sept 28, 2018.
President Halimah Yacob at the official opening of the Association for Persons with Special Needs Chaoyang School in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 9 on Sept 28, 2018.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - While crossing the street safely may be second nature to most, for special needs pupils, it is a skill that needs to be taught.

However, it is not an easy task to take a class to a busy road junction just to teach them that.

The Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) Chaoyang School on Friday (Sept 28) displayed a "mixed reality" room which uses virtual scenarios for pupils to safely practise such life skills before taking them into real-world environments.

The system was developed by digital animation social enterprise Digital Dream.

The school, which had the official opening of its new campus on Friday, caters to children with mild intellectual disability and mild autism, aged between seven and 12.

All classes will get to use the mixed reality room once a week.

The association, which now runs four schools as well as a centre for adults, said such technological initiatives help improve pupils' cognitive and life skills.

Said APSN chief executive Dr Christopher Tay: "Smart options have been integrated across our schools, such as by including iPads and interactive whiteboards within day-to-day lessons.

"With virtual technology added into the curriculum, we hope to bridge learning gaps and foster a culture of inclusiveness."

President Halimah Yacob attended the official opening of the school, which is located in Ang Mo Kio Street 54. Other facilities at the school include a living room corner, where pupils can learn skills such as personal grooming and simple household chores, as well as an art studio.

In a Facebook post, Madam Halimah congratulated the school and said: "With the right attitude, support and guidance, I am sure the students from APSN Chaoyang School will be the heroes of tomorrow."