Nanyang Polytechnic students develop new portal to support parents of children with special needs

Project Epic (Empowering Parents, Inspiring Children) designed by students from NYP's School of Health Sciences is an online resource designed for parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and global developmental delay.
Project Epic (Empowering Parents, Inspiring Children) designed by students from NYP's School of Health Sciences is an online resource designed for parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and global developmental delay.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM NYPPROJECTEPIC.COM

SINGAPORE - Parents of special needs children now have a new online portal that can guide them before they enrol their children in the Government's structured programme.

These parents are generally eager to support their children's learning, but many, with little formal training in therapy, hesitate for fear of not being "professional" enough, according to research by students from Nanyang Polytechnic(NYP).

Project Epic (Empowering Parents, Inspiring Children) designed by students from NYP's School of Health Sciences is an online resource designed for parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and global developmental delay, the school said in a media statement on Monday.

NYP students worked with professionals, such as speech and occupational therapists, social workers and an educational psychologist involved in the diagnosis and intervention of special needs children to come up with the platform.

The portal features original videos featuring families working with their own special needs child.

"These videos encourage parents to use daily home routines to actively engage their children, so as to achieve developmental milestones in simple steps,"a spokesman said.

The platform also trains parents on how to involve siblings and improve family bonding through the care of the special needs child.

Users can also view videos of other families sharing their personal experiences. This provides peer support in what parents report to be a sometimes lonely journey, the spokesman added.

Parents with children diagnosed with developmental disorders can opt for therapy or pre-school education at EIPIC centres islandwide and receive means-tested subsidies.

The Ministry of Social and Family Development aims to provide 3,200 EIPIC places in total by 2018.

Ms Lau Cheng Mun, Director (Allied Health) School of Health Sciences, NYP, said that she is proud of the Social Sciences (Social Work) students who decided to help the parents and caregivers of special needs children, after catching a a glimpse of the difficulties they face during their internships.

"Beyond just doing their work, we have instilled in them a dedication to improve the lives of others through their involvement as social work associates," she said.

The portal can be accessed at nypprojectepic.com.