To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development whether the Ministry will consider extending the Development Support and Learning Support Programmeto children who are differently abled at the nursery levels.
1 The Development Support (DS) and Learning Support (LS) Programme is one of a suite of programmes which provides additional developmental support for preschool children. The DS-LS Progamme is currently designed to support preschool children aged 5 and 6 identified with mild developmental delays or learning needs. The DS-LS programme is currently offered at about 550 preschools. Children on the DS-LS programme are given the necessary support such as pull-out sessions with Learning Support Educators or therapists to address their developmental and learning needs.
2 For the younger nursery children, there are issues of whether identifying children with mild developmental delays or learning needs at these earlier ages is appropriate and if intervention via the existing DS-LS programme is suitable. ECDA is studying these issues with agencies.
3 For nursery children with clearer moderate to severe developmental delays, preschools can already identify and refer these children to KKH and National University Hospital as well as the Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (EIPIC) where more intensive support can be provided.
4 At the same time, ECDA is scaling up KidSTART to support more low-income families with the development of their children frombirth. This will support the development of these children from these families, regardless of whether there are development delays.
5 Taking ECDA’s KidSTART programme, DS-LS programme and the EIPIC programme together, these form the range of assistance availableto provide additional developmental support for preschool-age children and their families.