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ECSE/EI Providing for Special Needs in Early Education. Source: Cook, R. E., Klein, M. D., & Tessier, A. (2008). Adapting Early Childhood Curricula for Children in Inclusive Settings (7 th ed.) . Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson/Merrill Prentice-Hall; Poon, Kenneth.

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ecse ei providing for special needs in early education

ECSE/EI Providing for Special Needs in Early Education

Source: Cook, R. E., Klein, M. D., & Tessier, A. (2008). Adapting Early Childhood Curricula for Children in Inclusive Settings (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson/Merrill Prentice-Hall; Poon, Kenneth.

Chien-Hui Yang, PhD.

“I have come to accept that my daughter will not be quite like everybody else when she grows up, but then who of us is? We are all unique individuals, and we should appreciate our differences rather than scorn them. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and how many of us, even without disabilities, ever realize our full human potential?” - Lora Jerugim (p. 3).
what is early intervention
What is Early Intervention?
  • Early Intervention

- The provision of services for children who are at-risk or have disabilities and their families for the purpose of lessening the effects of the risk factors or disabilities.

- Remedial and/or preventive in nature.

goals of early intervention
Goals of Early Intervention:
  • Optimize each child’s learning potential and daily well-being
  • Increase opportunities for child to function effectively in the community

- To achieve these goals, early interventionists must first have a thorough understanding of how children learn.

ei an evolving field
EI: An Evolving Field
  • ECSE: a relatively new field
    • 1980’s: the rights of individuals with disabilities
    • 1990’s: rights & needs of families of children with special needs
    • 2000’s: serving children with disabilities in their natural environment (the needs of the child in his or her family).

Pioneering influences:

1. Jean-Marc Itard (1800): The wild boy of Aveyron (Victor).

- Interactionist viewpoint:

Learning potential influenced through intervention (that changed the stimulation in the environment).

2. Maria Montessori & Casa dei Bambini:

- Life skills and academic.

- Teacher observe and arrange learning experiences that promote development.

- Sensorial approach, task analysis, sequencing, individualization.

3. Piaget’s theory of cognitive development:

- Provide opportunities that allow a child to combine experiences into coherent systems (schemes) that constitute knowledge.

(Construct within v.s. Acquisition without).

- Model program: Perry Preschool project: High Scope.


4. Crucial years: early years

- Skeets & Dye: 12 children (0-3). Orphanage vs. specialized attention by teenage girls with retardation.


IQ gain, Independence

3rd grade level v.s. high school/college

- The Milwaukee Project: Parent education and infant stimulation for children born by mothers with MR (IQs < 70) in poverty

Outcome: At age of 3 1/2, the experimental children tested an average of 33 IQ points higher than a control group

- Bloom: 50% of intellectual development from birth to age 4, 30% from age 4-8, 20% from age 8-17 (Nature v.s. Nurture)

5. Project Head Start: Inclusion

- 1972: required inclusion of children with disabilities; at least 10% of enrollment

    • Inclusion of children with disabilities and typical children in same classroom
impact of ei
Impact of EI
  • Long-lasting, positive effects of early intervention

- Ziglar; Lazar & Darlington (1979, 1982)

        • Children in EI are less likely to be assigned to sped classes or held back a grade

- Perry Prechool Project: 19-year longitudinal study of at-risk children/disadvantaged

        • Children in EI are less likely to be assigned to sped classes or held back a grade
        • Are more likely to graduate from high school
        • Are less likely to be arrested as young adults
        • Are less likely to experience teen pregnancy
        • Are more likely to secure employment
Early Intervention with Children with Disabilities

- No one best intervention for everyone, all of the time, even within one group.

- No parallel/distinguished line between EC and SPED.


Autism has many faces

  • Observation practice

Case one

Case two

developmental domains
Developmental Domains
  • Cognitive
  • Motor
  • Language/Communication
  • Social competence and play skills
  • Affect and emotional
  • Self help and adaptive
programming principles for young children with special needs
Programming Principles for Young Children with Special Needs:
  • Based on developmentally appropriate practices (NAEYC) that are effective for all children.
  • DEC recommended practices (Division of Early Childhood, Council for Exceptional Children).

benefits of inclusion
Benefits of Inclusion
  • For children with moderate/severe disabilities in inclusive settings v.s. segregated classes:

- have better developmental outcomes (Fisher & Meyer, 2002; Hundret et al., 1998),

- higher scores in language development and social skills (Rafferty, Piscitelli, Boettcher, 2003),

- development of friendships and social networks (Fryxell & Kennedy, 1995; Hall & McGregor, 2000),

- happiness behaviors (Ryndak, Morrison, & Sommerstein, 1999),

- had more communicative interactions (Foreman, Arthur-Kelly, Pascoe, & King, 2004).


A child with severe/multiple disabilities


For typical children experiencing inclusion:

- value the human differences, developing positive attitudes toward those with disabilities (Cross, Traub, Hutter-Pishgahi, & Shelton, 2004; Diamond & Carpenter, 2000),

- developing greater compassion for others, - acquiring unique skills such as sign language (Downing & Peckham-Hardin, 2007)

- better communication and helping skills (Staub, Schwartz, Gallucci, & Peck, 1994).

service delivery
Service Delivery
  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (1975, 1986, 1997, 2004)

Ages 3-21 (PART B):

    • The right to free, appropriate public education mandated for all school age children (3-21)
    • Allowed states to use the term developmental delay for children age 3-9 instead of the label of disability categories
best practices
Best Practices
  • Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP) in Natural Settings
    • Teaching children within the context of play and developmentally appropriate activities
    • Program goals are functional and relevant to children’s and families’ lives
    • Goals embedded in daily activities and routines.
    • Using strategies of behavior analysis and modification rather than predominant teaching methodologies.
    • Objectives not taught in isolation, but integrated into meaningful activities and events.
    • Planning and interventions based on teacher’s observations of child in natural contexts
    • Interactive process of learning
    • Real-life objects and activities relevant to child’s life
    • Individualize programs to meet child’s range of interests and abilities
    • Gradual increase in difficulty and challenge of activities
    • Facilitate engagement of each child: offer choices, make suggestions, ask questions, describe events in ways meaningful and interesting to child
    • Opportunities for self-initiation, self-direction, and repeated practice
    • Acceptance and appreciation of cultural differences; avoid ethnic and gender stereotypes
    • Balance between rest/activity, including planned outdoor activity
    • Careful transition from one activity to the next
Adult-Child interaction
    • Quick and direct response at child’s eye level to child’s needs and communication attempts
    • Interaction opportunities provided; one-on-one communication best facilitates this
    • Provide sensitive, appropriate assistance to children
    • Facilitate self-esteem in children
    • Discipline that enhances development of self-control
Family Involvement
    • Families’ right & responsibility to share in decision making regarding children’s care and education.
    • Families encouraged to participate
    • Professionals maintain frequent contact with families, regularly share information and resources
    • Professionals must obtain and respect caregivers’ views of child’s behavior & development.
Adult-Child interaction
    • Adults responsible for health and constant safety of all children
    • Adults plan for increasing children’s independence
    • Should not rely on a single instrument
    • Should identify children with special needs and provide information that leads to meaningful early interventions
    • Must be culturally appropriate
Collaboration between ECE and ECSE Professionals
      • ECE: expectations and learning environments appropriate for young children
      • ECSE: identification of specific outcomes, accountability of professionals to ensure steady progress toward outcomes, importance of direct instruction, commitment to individualized instruction
Services for Preschoolers
    • LRE for 3- to 5-year-olds with severe disabilities may be a segregated preschool class for children with disabilities
    • Special education preschool classes are staffed by teacher with special education credentials
    • Transdisciplinary team of therapists is essential to children’s progress
Service Options: Child-focused & Family-focused Programs
    • Target of intervention may be child or the caregiver
    • Family remains the primary focal point and context in which the child is viewed
special considerations for infant and toddler group care
Special Considerations for Infant and Toddler Group Care

5 key components of group care:

  • Group size: Adult-to-child ratio no greater than 1:3; Total group size should not create stressful environment
  • Physical environment: easy & frequent access to food and outdoor space
  • Assignment of primary caregiver: facilitates development of trust and intimacy
  • Continuity of care: loss of caregiver is equivalent to loss of self and way the world operates
  • Cultural & familial continuity: Good match between child-rearing values of family and staff
singapore local context
Singapore: Local Context
  • No statutory requirements as those mandated in U.S. and the UK to provide special education services for children with special needs and their families in Singapore.
financial assistance
Financial Assistance
  • Children who are Singapore citizens or permanent residence of Singapore from low income families (i.e. $1,500/m or below).
  • Schemes:
  • 1. Financial assistance scheme for childcare (CFAC)
  • 2. Kindergarten financial scheme (KiFAS)
  • 3. Healthy start
  • 4. Medical Endowment Fund

Source: Kenneth Poon

early intervention programs in singapore
Early Intervention Programs in Singapore
  • Child Development Programme
  • Early Intervention Programme for infants and children (EIPIC)
  • Integrated childcare programme (ICCP)

Source: Kenneth Poon

childcare program history
ChildcareProgram History
  • 1979: Preschool playgroup for children with multiple disabilities by AWWA
  • 1991: Development and Assessment Clinic SGH
  • 1997: Child development unit at KKH
  • 2003: Child development unit at NUH
  • 2007: Department of child development at KKH

Source: Kenneth Poon


More medical based

  • Category A & B: Mostly special education schools
  • Category C & D: Mainstream school with TSN support
ei program for infants and children eipic
EI Program for Infants and Children (EIPIC)
  • Programs for children birth to 6.
  • Requires diagnosis by a medical dr.
  • Once a child is on the EIPIC program, a professional team of staff will work with the parents on the needs of the child and the developmental goals to be achieved documented in the child’s Individualized Educational Plan (IEP)

Source: Kenneth Poon


The goal of the EIPIC is to prepare the child for school (mainstream or special school)

  • Parents can make enquiries and request for their child’s placement in EIPIC through the Disability Information and Referral Centre (DIRC)
  • 9 Centres serving 727 children as Nov 2006
programs eipic centres
Programs: EIPIC Centres
  • Rainbow Centre (Margaret Drive)
  • Rainbow Centre (Yishun Park)
  • Autism Association of Singapore (Clementi)
  • Autism Association of Singapore (Simei)
  • Autism Resource Centre
  • Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore (Spastic Children’s Association of Singapore)
  • Fei Yue Community Services EIPIC
  • Society of Moral Charities EIPIC
  • Asian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA)
  • Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities
integrated childcare program
Integrated Childcare Program
  • Children 2-6 years of age: Sensory impairment, physical disabilities, speech delay, developmental delay
  • Mainstream settings
  • Teacher trained and specially designed materials may be used
  • 17 voluntary welfare organisations (VWO)-run centres serve 114 children as of Nov 2006

Source: Kenneth Poon

primary schools
Primary Schools
  • Learning support programme
  • Enable programme
  • Psychological service branch
  • Support for special needs initiative

Source: Kenneth Poon

learning support programme
Learning Support Programme
  • 1992: School Readiness screening for all school entrants was introduced
  • Individual assessments of language, literacy, and numeracy skills are conducted by the learning support coordinator (LSC) on children identified as being at risk of educational failure
  • The results are discussed with the MOE educational psychologist for placement in a learning support programme (LSP) for English and/or Math (pull out services)
enable programme
ENABLE Programme
  • Children who are considered to be underachieving by the end of their first year in school may be included in the encouraging achievement and better learning program (ENABLE).
psychological service branch
Psychological Service Branch
  • Provision of psychological consultation with MOE schools
  • Provision of assessment services for primary schools
support for special needs initiative
Support for Special Needs Initiative
  • Special Needs Officers (SNOs)
    • In primary and secondary to support children with mild to moderate learning disabilities and ASD
    • Provide in class support, small group interventions, and administrative duties
    • For students with learning disabilities (dyslexia), all primary school will have 1 SNO and 20 resourced secondary schools will have 1-3 SNOs.

For students with ASD, there will be 20 resourced primary and 12 resourced secondary schools with 1-3 SNOs.

  • Teacher trained in special needs (TSNs)
    • 10% of all primary and 20% secondary teachers will be trained
  • Schools
    • 59 schools will be retrofitted to be accessible for students with physical disabilities and sensory impairments and provide assistive technology.
As the new Prime Minister of Singapore, after learning about the Issues and Trends in Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education, what would YOU do to help our children succeed? Would you change/revise any education related policies or legislation? If so, how?