Mr Louis Ng
Nee Soon GRC
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development
(a) how many children below the age of 7 years with speech delay, autism and at risk of moderate to severe disabilities are currently receiving and awaiting early intervention services at Government-funded voluntary welfare organisations; and
(b) what is the current waiting time for these early intervention programmes.
The Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (EIPIC) serves children with moderate to severe disabilities with speech delay, Autism and other developmental needs. Subsidised by the Government, EIPIC services are available at 17 Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWO) located across Singapore. About 2,600 children benefited from EIPIC in 2015. Of these, 6%1 were diagnosed with speech and language delays, and 47% were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
Children currently have to wait an average of five to six months to enrol in an EIPIC centre. Some centres have a longer wait time due to parents’ preferences. MSF will continue to work with VWOs expand capacity to meet the demand. There will be 28% more EIPIC places, or a total of 3,200 places, by 2018.
As children are best served in their natural settings, children with milder needs are served in mainstream preschools that offer the Development Support Programme (DSP). In 2015, about 1,200 children benefited from the DSP. The capacity and capability of these preschools will be further developed to meet demand.
1 Percentage of children whose primary diagnosis was speech and language delay.