Andy* is a child under the Educational Support Programme (ESP), which provides a natural environment for children with special needs to learn, play, socialise and grow alongside with regular peers. As Andy has Global Developmental Delay, he struggled with development in motor skills and social-emotional skills. His parents were highly concerned about Andy’s social- emotional well-being, as he was unable to integrate into his previous preschool. He was left out of group activities and could not participate in lessons meaningfully due to the lack of appropriate support.
When Andy first enrolled with PPS in Aug 2022, the Education Support Teacher (EST) ensured his lessons were differentiated and modified to suit his needs. For example, his lessons included more fine motor practices and had more sensorial elements, while the EST also gave him simplified instructions and tasks to complete.
One major challenge was that Andy was unable to properly feed himself during meal times with the spoon provided in the Centre due to his delayed motor skills development. The Education Support Teacher (EST), class teachers and parents decided to purchase a different spoon that was easier for Andy to handle. After a few days of practice and encouragement from the teachers, Andy was finally able to feed himself independently. This success was also shared with his parents, who eventually provided the same utensil set for him at home.
He also struggled with emotional dysregulation, and he would often have energy outbursts when he was overstimulated, causing disruptions in class. Thus, visual aids prepared by the EST as well as cooling down strategies that both EST and teachers used hand-in-hand during classes helped guide him in regulating his emotions. The teachers also worked together to explain to the children about showing kindness and being an inclusion hero to Andy, who needed help with making friends because of certain behaviours that he has challenges with. The children took time to get to know their new friend better and Andy gradually began to blend in with his friends, playing along and joining in conversations.
Overall, Andy has shown significant improvements in his fine motor skills development. Currently, he is able to finish meals on his own and put on his shoes with less difficulties. He is also exhibiting self-regulating behaviours – he manages his emotions and actions in class better, without reminders from teachers. His parents had shared with the teachers recently that Andy had took the initiative to stand in front of the class to lead his peers to perform dance moves while singing in church! His parents continue to be supportive and active in working alongside with the EST and class teachers, proving that a strong home- school partnership is essential for child's development and progress.
*Names have been changed to maintain anonymity If you would like to partner us in our work in creating an inclusive learning environment for children with added needs, you may consider donating to the Little Blessings for Little Ones fund. Find out more here: https://bit.ly/PPSBlessings