Preschool girl with autism learning at home with a doctor and her mother

A Complete List of Schools For Children with Autism In Singapore

Choosing the right school for your child with autism? Know your options! Here’s a complete list of schools suitable for children with autism of all ages.

by Liam Hoo

Choosing the right school for your child with autism is an important decision. Making the right choice helps ensure that your child’s developmental needs are met while their potential is nurtured to the fullest. Here at Homage, we have curated a guide to help you make the right choice for your child — read on to find out more. 

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), commonly referred to as autism, is a lifelong developmental disorder. Individuals with ASD typically experience difficulties with social communication and interaction. They also tend to display repetitive behaviours and limited interests. 

Worldwide, about one percent of the population is estimated to have ASD. While the exact number of local cases is unclear, it is estimated that at least 400 new cases are diagnosed each year in Singapore.

ASD is present from birth, with its associated traits becoming more noticeable as your child gets older, around 2 to 3 years of age. Common traits in children with ASD can include: 

  • Difficulty understanding simple commands
  • Difficulty understanding or using gestures 
  • Odd self-expression and speech
  • Inability to maintain eye contact
  • Problems with imaginative play 
  • Highly limited or specific interests 

But of course, the symptoms that every individual experiences may be different. If you are concerned that your child might have ASD, you should speak to a medical professional to get your child assessed. Should you require help in arranging for an assessment, our Homage care advisors and care specialists are more than happy to lend a helping hand — simply reach us at 6100 0055.

Finding out that your child has been diagnosed with ASD may understandably be a cause for concern for many of us. It is important to remember, however, that although ASD cannot be cured, early intervention and treatment can help children with autism achieve better outcomes in later life. 

Autism and Schooling 

As parents and caregivers, it is only natural to desire that the needs of our children are adequately met and that their potential is nurtured to the fullest. Schooling is an important way of helping children with ASD prepare for and lead a fulfilling life. Choosing the right school for your child can help them improve their communication, learning, and behaviour. This empowers them to be able to live with more independence and have a better quality of life as they transition into adulthood. 

It is therefore important to carefully consider the various educational pathways that are available for your child at each stage of his/her life. In Singapore, children with autism have the option to attend a variety of educational institutions to meet their developmental and educational needs along their educational journey. 

Early Intervention Programme for Infants & Children (EIPIC) and Development Support Plus (DS-Plus)

If an early diagnosis for ASD is made, your child could have their educational journey be kickstarted by the Early Intervention Programme for Infants & Children (EIPIC) and Development Support Plan Plus (DS-PLUS) programme implemented by SG Enable. Under this early education framework, Early Intervention (EI) centres incrementally provide a continuum of EI services tailored to the different developmental needs of our children in early education.

The three tiers of EI services available under this framework are: 

  1. EIPIC Under-2s
  2. [email protected]
  3. DS- PLUS

EIPIC Under-2s — For Children under Two 

Targeted at children under two years old, EIPIC Under-2s emphasises the training of parents and caregivers to help them carry out intervention strategies for their child’s daily routines at home. These intervention strategies help your child learn through their daily activities and enhance early intervention. This programme will require a parent or caregiver to accompany the child at the EI centre. 

[email protected] — For Children Two and Above

When your child turns two, he/she is then able to transition to [email protected]. Under this programme, therapy and educational intervention services are delivered in small group settings. Your child undergoes regular assessment to monitor the progress made. At the same time, intervention goals and strategies are tailored to each child’s individual needs.  

Development Support Plus (DS-Plus) — For Children Ready for Preschool 

When your child has been assessed by the EI centre to have made enough progress under [email protected], he/she is then able to proceed to attend preschool. Under the DS-Plus programme, EI professionals from the EI centre will work with your child in their preschool for an average of 2 to 4 hours per week, as co-teachers alongside their preschool teacher. This helps your child adapt to the preschool setting and continue learning while preparing them for interactions and learning in a larger class setting. There is no need to apply for DS-Plus. Your child’s EI professionals will regularly review your child’s progress and identify if they are suitable for transition to DS-Plus. EI professionals will approach you if your child is evaluated to be suitable.

Who is Eligible for EIPIC?

Your child is eligible for the EIPIC if they are: 

  • Any age from birth to six years old 
  • Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents
  • Assessed by a paediatrician  to be at risk of a developmental, intellectual, sensory or physical disability, or a combination of disabilities; and
  • Not concurrently enrolled in any other Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA)-funded EI programmes

You can get your child referred for assessment at the Department of Child Development (DCD) at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) or Child Development Unit (CDU) at National University Hospital (NUH) by a doctor at any polyclinic islandwide. The hospital will recommend EIPIC if your child is assessed to be suitable. You may also opt to approach a private paediatrician for assessment and recommendation for EIPIC.

Find out more about how to apply for the EIPIC here.

Schools for Children with Autism 

For children with autism of school-going age, there are several educational pathways available for you to explore with your child. Under the 2012 Special Education Curriculum Framework, Special education (SPED) schools in Singapore are united by six core learning domains in their curriculum design. 

The six core learning domains are: 

  • Academic
  • Daily living
  • Physical education and sports
  • Social-emotional
  • The arts
  • Vocational

Under this framework, children with ASD of school-going age are able to take either a  Customised Curriculum, or the National Curriculum

National Curriculum

Children with ASD can take the National Curriculum in either a mainstream primary school or Pathlight School and sit for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) if they have: 

  • Sufficient cognitive ability, like reasoning, working and long-term memory to learn the National Curriculum 
  • Sufficient adaptive functioning in areas like communication and social skills, such that they do not require additional specialised support 

Pathlight School

Pathlight School is unique in being the first autism-focused school in Singapore to offer the National Curriculum alongside life readiness skills. Well-equipped to handle children with ASD with a range of needs, the school has more than 1,760 students and is one of the fastest growing and progressive special schools in Singapore. The school offers students a primary and secondary school education, alongside a vocational track for students. 

  • Suitable For: Children with ASD aged 7-18 or 21 years old
  • Website: https://www.pathlight.org.sg
  • Telephone: 6459 9951 (Pathlight School 1) / 6592 0511 (Pathlight School 2)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Address*:
    Pathlight School 1
    5 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10, Singapore 569739 (Ang Mo Kio)
    Pathlight School 2
    4 Tampines Street 91, Singapore 528907 (Tampines)
    Pathlight School 3
    Tengah

* Note: Pathlight Schools 2 and 3 are currently located at 6 Ang Mo Kio Street 44, Singapore 569250. Pathlight School 2 will move to its permanent location at 4 Tampines Street 91, Singapore 528907 in 2024. Pathlight School 3 will move to its permanent location in Tengah tentatively in 2027.

Customised Curriculum

If your child is not suited for the National Curriculum, children with ASD can also attend an Autism-focused School or a School that offers an Autism programme. Here are some that you can consider:

Autism-Focused Schools:

Autism-Focused Schools cater exclusively to children with ASD. 

Asian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA) School 2

AWWA School 2 provides a customised curriculum to students with ASD spanning primary and secondary level education. The school uses information communication and assistive technologies to provide an inclusive learning environment and equal opportunities for its students. It  also offers a Work Exposure and Experience programme for students to receive authentic vocational training and discover the jobs that they are best suited for. 

* Note: AWWA School 2 is currently co-located with Fernvale Gardens School at 7 Fernvale Road, Singapore 797635. It will move to its permanent location at 50 Bedok Reservoir Crescent, Singapore 479225, in 2022.

St Andrew’s Autism School (SAAS)

Run by St Andrew’s Autism Centre, SAAS offers a customised curriculum differentiated by competency levels (e.g. basic, intermediate, advanced) in its domains. This ensures that the needs of children with varying ability levels can excel at their own pace. Older students from the age of 13-18 years old are also given the chance to undergo vocational experiences in areas like food preparation, horticulture, and office to apply and improve work behaviours.  

Eden School

Eden School’s curriculum features ‘Stepping Out’ learning journeys both locally and overseas that provide students opportunities to practice and contextualise the skills they have learnt in school. The school also boasts a Co-Curricular Activity Talent Development Programme. Students who show potential in a CCA, are able to join talent development clubs. Those with a strong flair for their passions may even be selected for extra coaching and overseas training and attachments.  From the age of 13, students are also taught general vocational skills assessed for employability potential at age 15. Those who demonstrate potential are selected for further vocational training. 

  • Suitable For: Children with ASD aged 7-18 years old
  • Website: https://www.edenschool.edu.sg
  • Telephone: 6265 7400 (Eden School 1) / 6452 0150 (Eden School 2)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Address:
    Eden School 1
    101 Bukit Batok West Ave 3, Singapore 659168 (Bukit Batok)
    Eden School 2
    1 Bukit Batok West Ave 2, Singapore 659203 (Bukit Batok)

Schools That Offer an Autism Programme:

Schools that offer an Autism Programme are SPED schools that cater to a variety of children with special needs and have a special programme in place for children with ASD. Here are some that you can consider. 

Grace Orchard School

Grace Orchard School offers a curriculum that is tailored to each individual student’s needs. Its curriculum includes core learning domains including:

  • Academic 
  • Social-Emotional 
  • Daily Living
  • Physical Education
  • Arts
  • Vocational Education

The curriculum is further implemented and supported through the use of information communication technologies and a strong focus on character development.

  • Suitable For: Children with mild intellectual disability or ASD aged 7-18 years old
  • Website: https://go.edu.sg/
  • Telephone: 6561 9128
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Address: 6A Jurong West Street 52, S649297 (Jurong)

Metta School

Metta School provides a two tier ASD Programme curriculum that aims to enable students to lead meaningful and independent lives.  The Junior A Programme focuses on developing functional literacy and numeracy skills, as well as communication and self-management skills. The Senior A Programme focuses on the developing functional skills needed for adulthood- such as independent travelling, shopping, and simple work skills to bolster work readiness

Making the Right Choice

Now that you know more about autism and schooling in Singapore, you are better equipped to make an informed choice to help your child develop his potential to the fullest. Besides education, your child may also benefit from therapy services to help them develop useful everyday skills and interactions. You can speak with our Care Advisors at 6100 0055 for a free care consult, to find out if home speech therapy and occupational therapy is suitable for your child. 

References
  1. National University Hospital, Autism (Children) [Webpage]. Retrieved 17 March, from https://www.nuh.com.sg/Health-Information/Diseases-Conditions/Pages/Autism-(Children).aspx
  2. SG Enable, Early Intervention Programme for Infants & Children (EIPIC) and Development Support Plus (DS-Plus) [Webpage]. Retrieved 17 March, from https://www.sgenable.sg/pages/content.aspx?path=/for-children/early-intervention-programme-for-infants-children-eipic/
  3. Ministry of Education, Singapore, Curriculum in special schools [Webpage]. Retrieved 17 March, from https://www.moe.gov.sg/special-educational-needs/curriculum/
  4. Ministry of Education, Singapore, Explore your child’s educational journey [Webpage]. Retrieved 17 March, from https://www.moe.gov.sg/special-educational-needs/educational-journey

Download our app today or call our Care Advisors at +65 6100 0055 for a free care consult.
About the Writer
Liam Hoo
Liam is a history major who guzzles coffee a little too much for his own good. He enjoys sharing his curiosity about the world and eccentric quirks with others. In his spare time, he’s either daydreaming, writing, or daydreaming about writing.
Make Home Care Personal To Your Loved One
curve

Make Home Care Personal To Your Loved One

Get started with a free consultation today, and learn why thousands of Singaporeans trust Homage to deliver the best care in their homes.

Get a Free Care Consult