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Singapore Government

Statistics on children with special needs and intellectual disabilities

Statistics on children with special needs and intellectual disabilities

2 October 2017


Ms Rahayu Mahzam 
MP for Jurong GRC

To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) what is the current percentage of children below the age of four who are diagnosed with special needs; and (b) of these, how many have been diagnosed with intellectual disabilities.


1. Child development programmes in our public healthcare system are provided by KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) and National University Hospital (NUH).  These programmes extend medical diagnosis, assessment and early intervention services to children aged 0 to 6 years old who have developmental needs and behavioural issues.  In 2016, 2,170 children under the age of 4 (or about 1.4% of the cohorts) were diagnosed with varying degrees of developmental issues and needs.

2. It is difficult to make a firm diagnosis of intellectual disability for very young children, except for those with specific genetic conditions, severe autism and severe cerebral palsy that are known to cause intellectual disabilities.  Some will grow out of their developmental challenges after early intervention.   

3. Early intervention remains a key area of focus for children with developmental needs to maximise their potential. Besides KKH and NUH, early intervention services in the community are provided through MSF-funded Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (EIPIC) and Development Support (DS) programme for children with milder needs in preschools.

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