In Jul 2023, fee caps were introduced for EIPIC-P (previously known as PPIP) to lower out-of-pocket expenses for parents, and ensure that it is an affordable option for families . More families who are waiting for a place in EIPIC can enrol their children in EIPIC-P instead. This contributes to achieving Focal Area 1 of the Enabling Masterplan: Early Years.
ECDA has further expanded the capacity of EIPIC-P by 830, to 1,515 places with the appointment of 13 new centres. Two new EI centres offering EIPIC will also commence operations by the end of the year, adding up to 290 places. These will enable more children requiring medium to high levels of EI support to receive timely support.
Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore School (West) began operations at Jurong West in June 2023. It caters to students with multiple disabilities.
MOE has also announced the setting up of a new SPED school to cater to students with moderate SEN who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and can access the National Curriculum, to be run by Methodist Welfare Services in partnership with ACS. This new school is expected to be operational at an interim site by 2026.
Two new SPED Teaching and Learning Syllabuses will be launched on 3 November 2023. The Communication and Language (C&L) TLS will place greater emphasis on developing communication skills through a stronger partnership between teachers and speech and language therapists, leveraging assistive technology as well as alternative and augmentative communication tools. The Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) TLS will equip students with knowledge and skills for personal and social well-being, self-determination, and resilience, through critical competencies such as goal-setting, problem solving and self-advocacy, to increase students’ agency and confidence in determining and pursuing their interests and aspirations.
From 2023, “Satellite Partnerships" has been rebranded as “School Partnerships (Gen Ed-SPED)", to broaden and deepen existing partnerships while cultivating greater collaboration between SPED and Gen Ed schools to support the vision for an inclusive Singapore.
In addition to sustainable and purposeful integration opportunities for students, the scope of School Partnerships (Gen Ed – SPED) has been expanded to focus on promoting professional exchange and mutual learning between staff to build capabilities in enhancing pedagogical practices in the classroom and strengthen how staff facilitate integration between students to nurture them into empathetic, confident and independent learners.
To date, there are 22 partnerships between SPED and Gen Ed schools of which 3 partnerships were formalised in April 2023. They are Lighthouse School with Marymount Convent School, Casuarina Primary School with Metta School and Delta Senior School with Millenia Institute.
The Government has accepted the recommendations by the Tripartite Committee on Workplace Fairness on the scope of the upcoming Workplace Fairness Legislation (WFL). The law will prohibit employers from making employment decisions because of disability, and employers will be supported should they wish to hire persons with disabilities. This supports the ongoing tripartite agenda to promote and facilitate employment opportunities for this group. Tripartite partners will also be developing a Tripartite Advisory to guide employers in providing reasonable accommodations, which are adjustments to the job or work environment that make it possible for employees with disabilities to perform their jobs. This contributes to Focal Area 4: Inclusive Employment.
The EEC was introduced in 2021 and provides wage offsets to employers of persons with disabilities. It originally consists of a permanent wage offset of up to 20%, capped at $400, and an additional time-limited wage offset of up to 10%, capped at $200, for a period of 6 months for hiring persons with disabilities that were not working for at least 6 months. With effect from 1 April 2023, the additional wage offset was enhanced by increasing the support level and duration from 10% to 20% and 6 to 9 months respectively. Taken together with the permanent wage offset, employers can receive up to $8,400 in wage offsets for the first full year of employment. This contributes to Focal Area 4: Inclusive Employment.
The first ESH was launched in Tampines on 14 August 2023. The ESH takes a regional approach to bring community support services closer to the homes of persons with disabilities and their caregivers. It will proactively reach out to PwDs with care needs and provide continual learning, social activities, and respite care. ESHs also partners various organisations in the region to make community activities inclusive for PwDs. It was set up by SG Enable, in partnership with SPD.
Project 3i is 3-prong approach supported by the Alliance for Action (AfA) for Caregivers of PWDs to develop community and mutual support (CAREconnect, CAREwell, CAREbuddy), formed by SG Enable and NCSS. The pilot seeks to establish a community support model with self-sustaining support networks for caregivers of persons with disabilities to be connected, starting with two pilot sites in Boon Lay and Kampong Glam. In 2023, the programme has been scaled to five constituencies, with the additional three being Nanyang, Telok Blangah and Bukit Batok East. Through the range of projects under the AfA, we have involved/supported over 3,100 individuals, including caregivers, and trained 126 community volunteers and experienced caregivers to provide caregiver support.
SG Enable has formed a workgroup, comprising stakeholders with experience and expertise in future care planning (FCP), to develop an ecosystem of support for caregivers in future care planning. This involves identifying and addressing service gaps, building sector professionals’ capability and determining the best possible ways to support caregivers in FCP. Developing a playbook for guiding the process of future care planning is currently in progress. This is after the workgroup developed a framework for engaging and communicating FCP to caregivers, with different intensities of support - from light touch to intensive handholding - depending on caregivers' readiness and urgency for future care planning. In October 2023, sector professionals from adult disability services participated in a pilot training on engaging ageing caregivers and facilitating future care planning for their adult disabled care recipients.
Expansion of the Helping Hand Scheme. The Helping Hand scheme was expanded in April 2023 to include the following two identifiers on top of the “May I have a Seat Please” identifier:
“This is a wheelchair”: Commuters travelling with a paediatric wheelchair may be mistaken for using a stroller. This initiative allows them to alert the public transport staff and other commuters that the wheelchair cannot be folded, and to render assistance where required (e.g. deploying ramp to board or alight from a bus).
“Please alert me when I am approaching my stop”: This identifier allows commuters (e.g. those with low vision or dementia) to alert public transport staff and commuters to notify them when nearing their destination.
Commuters who require these card identifiers may collect them from Passenger Service Centres at train stations and bus interchanges.
Heart Zones. Launch of two new Heart Zones at Punggol Bus Interchange and Sembawang Bus Interchange in March 2023 to provide platforms for commuters to help fellow commuters at these public transport nodes, and increase awareness of the Four Caring Norms of ‘Give Time’, ‘Give Care’, ‘Give a Hand’ and ‘Give Thanks’. As at September 2023, we have a total of 15 Heart Zone across 13 different locations.
Travel Makers Programme. The Travel Makers Programme, a partnership with MINDS and Youth Corps Singapore, supports students with intellectual disabilities to commute independently on public transport with the support of volunteers, thereby integrating the students into the wider commuting community. In July 2023, a pilot of the Travel Makers Programme was launched with Lee Kong Chian Gardens School and Towner Gardens School, Youth Corps Singapore and SMRT.
Continual Efforts to Make Point-To-Point Transport More Accessible. As at September 2023, 94% of taxi stands are barrier free.
Upgrading of Pedestrian Crossings with 24/7 On-Demand Audible Traffic Signals. LTA announced that it will be installing 24/7 on-demand audible traffic signals at 325 pedestrian crossings across ten town centres by 2025. Between June and September 2023, LTA implemented 24/7 on-demand audio traffic signals in Bedok, Tampines and Jurong West. Works will be carried out progressively to install the traffic signals in Woodlands, Sengkang and Bukit Merah through the end of 2023. The implementation of these traffic signals will better enable persons with disabilities to navigate independently during their commutes, across all periods of the day.
SLA conducted the final barrier-free access pilot testing session at Temasek House on 20 October 2023. Three other sessions had been conducted at the Enabling Village, Gardens by the Bay and Ang Mo Kio. This is a collaboration between SLA and SG Enable to map barrier-free routes to enable wheelchair users to move about easily. The sessions were part of SLA’s support for the Enabling Masterplan 2030 which sets out the vision for Singapore as an inclusive society by 2030.
SLA developed a pilot testing app with data relating to barrier-free routes such as those with wheelchair-accessible covered linkways, ramps, footpaths, pedestrian crossings, and overhead bridges with lifts have been mapped for Bukit Merah, Marina South, Tanglin, River Valley, Singapore River, Orchard, Museum, Ang Mo Kio and Punggol. The barrier-free access routing function will be added to OneMap for selected areas in March 2024, as an additional mode of wayfinding, to supplement the existing public transport, cycling and driving modes.
The Government introduced building legislation amendments to accelerate accessibility upgrading in buildings, which took effect in June 2023. It requires building owners of existing non-barrier-free commercial and institution buildings, with Gross Floor Area of more than 500sqm, to provide basic accessibility features whenever any addition and alteration works are carried out in the building.
The CIHT pilot is helmed by Happee Hearts Movement Ltd., a charity and social service agency specialising in the care of persons with intellectual disabilities (PwIDs). The CIHT adopts a family-centric approach to holistically address healthcare issues for PwIDs with complex medical conditions. By providing more coordinated health and social services in the community, the CIHT aims to reduce the need for PwIDs to visit acute hospitals or live in residential facilities in order to receive the appropriate care.
There are ongoing efforts to improve accessibility and encourage sport participation amongst PwDs. To-date, SportSG has set up eight inclusive ActiveSG gyms and retrofitted swimming pools in six ActiveSG centres with ramps for wheelchairs. We are on track to make all 27 ActiveSG gyms inclusive by 2026.
The Para Sports Academy has rolled out 10 sports with more than 200 participants to date since its launch in March 2022. The Academy will continue to work with partners in the para sport ecosystem to create more opportunities for PwDs to participate in sport and develop pathways for them to pursue sport at a competitive level.
MCCY is engaging stakeholders to harvest ideas on how we can better support PwDs in sports participation, with a view to update the DSMP. Possible areas of focus include driving greater awareness of disability sports, increasing PwDs’ access to sports and enhancing opportunities for PwDs to pursue their sporting aspirations. More details will be provided in due course.
There are ongoing efforts to make our cultural facilities inclusive and accessible. Some of our cultural institutions and museums have dedicated sensory rooms, such as National Museum of Singapore (NMS)’s Quiet Room and National Gallery Singapore (NGS)’s Calm Room.
These rooms are safe spaces for visitors who might experience sensory overload to calm down before resuming their museum visits, particularly individuals on the autism spectrum.
Our cultural institutions also work closely with community partners, such as SG Enable, to introduce inclusive programming and initiatives for people with additional needs and their caregivers. For example:
NMS opens an hour earlier on selected days monthly, also known as “Quiet Mornings”, to allow these visitors to learn about Singapore’s heritage in a quieter and calmer environment.
All Esplanade Presents programmes that offer concessions have ticket concessions for persons with disabilities that can also be utilised by an accompanying companion. Esplanade also presents Relaxed Performances under its PLAYtime! series, with modifications such as adjusted lightings and sound levels, and calm spaces, to provide a welcoming environment for persons on the autism spectrum or with sensory sensitivities.
Since 2022, the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) has partnered with Dialogue in the Dark Singapore on Up Close with ACM, a monthly programme led by facilitators with visual impairment. During the session, blind-folded participants handle 3D-printed objects based on the ones in the museum’s collection, experiencing the museum in a new way from the perspective of their facilitators.
The National Arts Council (NAC) has supported 45 projects with various Special Education (SPED) schools through its Artist-in-School Scheme in 2022 and 2023. These projects aim to deepen students’ understanding and appreciation of the arts, as well as support broader educational outcomes through the arts.
There are ongoing efforts by NAC and the National Heritage Board (NHB) to build capabilities among the arts and cultural organisations, museums, practitioners, as well as volunteers to strengthen inclusive programming.
Since 2021, NHB has been organising the Accessibility and Inclusion Month annually to share best practices on accessibility and inclusivity among museum professionals through learning journeys, workshops, webinars and dialogue sessions. To date, over 240 professionals have benefitted from these sessions. NAC organised the 5th Arts and Disability Forum, in collaboration with ART:DIS in February 2023. The forum brought together international and local speakers from the arts and disability sectors to discuss best practices in disability arts and access.
NLB opened Punggol Regional Library officially on 5 April 2023. The library offers an extensive collection of books and facilities that everyone can enjoy. This includes a range of specially designed features for persons with disabilities, such as assistive technology, Calm Pods that provide a quiet and safe space for persons with disabilities when they need it, an Accessible Collection with books for the disability community and their caregivers, as well as trained staff who are equipped with skills and knowledge to help persons with disabilities. Planning for this inclusive space started as early as 2016, and feedback from various engagements with over 500 members of the disability community and their caregivers has helped shape several of the library’s key features and services.
SG Enable's i’mable Public Education initiative, supported by Tote Board with the Enabling Lives Initiative, and the National Council of Social Service with the Care and Share movement celebrates the abilities of persons with disabilities and encourages everyone to take positive action for disability inclusion.
As part of this initiative, SPS Eric Chua launched the “UnAwkward” social media campaign in May 2023. Through light-hearted humour, the campaign aims to encourage everyone – persons with and without disabilities – to recognise they can be unawkward and are able to take the first step to reduce the barriers of inclusion and embrace one another as neighbours, co-workers, and friends.
In addition, through our fourth consecutive collaboration with the National Day Parade 2023 organising committee, SG Enable enabled persons with disabilities to contribute to art, fashion and music during National Day - showcasing the artwork of artists with disabilities to the audiences through the NDP packs. The artwork was also translated into designs for NDP fashion wear under i’mable Collective, which garnered the support of 10 members of parliament and political office holders.
Together with Dr. Darius Lim, founder of Voices of Singapore, SG Enable created an inclusion anthem, “Our Story”, to rally Singaporeans. The anthem was performed live at the Gardens by the Bay and 2023 Mediacorp National Day concert to a crowd of more than 30,000, with SPS Eric Chua and then- President Halimah Yacob joining in the performance. The performance was broadcasted on free-to-air television which has a weekly viewership of 1.3mil viewers. The anthem has also been used to encourage donations to the Goh Chok Tong Enable Fund that aims to build a society where persons with disabilities are recognised for their abilities and lead full, socially integrated lives.