Improved Early Intervention Support for Families
Posted on January 30, 2019 by All In
If you are a parent of a child with special needs and is currently or planning to send your child for early intervention, here are some good news for you.
Beginning this year, the Ministry for Social and Family Development (MSF) will be pushing out changes to the early intervention (EI) framework for families with special needs. These aim to make EI therapies more affordable and more targeted for families.
The changes introduced are namely:
Two new EI programmes: EIPIC Under-2s and DS-Plus to make EI more customized to the child’s needs and development
Increased funding and fee reduction for more eligible Singaporean families, with expenses seeing a reduction of between 30 – 70%
Making EI More Accessible And Affordable For Everyone
More Customized Intervention To Suit Each Individual
Currently, children with special needs attend the Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (EIPIC). One concern that parents have is that the programme does not make differentiate between the child’s age or specific needs. For example, a child who has milder needs has enrolled into a mainstream school but EIPIC may not prepare him sufficiently to cope with the new environment. The new enhanced framework will address these shortfalls. Children will be placed in a programme appropriate for their age and developmental needs. The two new programmes launching progressively this year are EIPIC Under-2s and DS-Plus.
The current EIPIC is a one-size fits all approach which has several limitations. The new programme will target children under 2 years old and requires their parents or caregivers to be present. The parents or caregivers are trained to implement EI therapies in the child’s daily routine and this results in a more sustainable outcome for the child’s progress.
DS-Plus is an improvement on the current development support learning framework. As the child progresses under the EIPIC programme, they can move on to DS-Plus where they can continue their EI in a pre-school setting. This will prepare them better for moving on to mainstream primary schools.
Making EI Affordable For More
Funding is increased from S$45 million toS$60 million a year to support the various initiatives by MSF. This will make EI more affordable and within the reach of lower income families.
Currently, the fees for EI for eligible Singaporean families range from $5 to $780 after subsidies. Under the new criteria, eligible families will only need to pay fees that range from $5 to $430. This reduces the out-of-pocket expenses by up to 70%. At the same time, the income criteria will be broaden to allow more families to qualify.