Children with special needs may look different, act different. They may make you feel awkward, uncomfortable, irritated, or even scared. But they are all children first and foremost, with the same desire to love and belong, like all children do.

Zyon’s story

Like the other kids he likes to play, likes to watch cartoon. He is just a little kid, my kid…

Six-year-old Zyon is shunned by children at the playground because he can't read their cues. Seeing other children play with Zyon is the simple wish that powers his father Manson every day. The tough-guy chef in a Japanese restaurant shuttles Zyon between preschool in the mornings and intervention sessions in the afternoons via public transport, before reporting for work at dusk.

Aaron’s story

“People are too quick to judge when they see a child and think he is just misbehaving…”

To those who don’t know him, 8-year-old Aaron is impulsive and hot-tempered. On the soccer field, the Arsenal fan attracts looks when he talks to himself. But elder sister Anna knows very well what goes on in his mind, and why the real Aaron is not what others see.

Fasha’s story

“Some people are nice to her, but some look at her strangely…”

Fasha, 5, cannot hear. But she can see beauty. In a silent world, she is enchanted by cosmetics and Bollywood dancing. They have gifted her with a wonderfully loud personality – and her mom with the confidence to overcome her initial denial.

The Inclusive Attitudes Survey

In mid-2016, the Lien Foundation released the results of a survey that examined how truly inclusive Singapore is with regards to the daily lives and education of young children with special needs. The results were released over 2 parts.

Part 1 – Perspectives of the general public Findings from Part 1, which focused on the views of more than 1,000 members of the public, showed that Singaporeans generally embrace the idea of inclusion, but a gap exists between what they say and what they do.

View detailed findings
View press release

Part 2 – Perspectives of parents with children with special needs Findings from Part 2, which polled 835 parents of children with special needs, showed that less than half felt their children receive adequate support. The survey also shed light on the daily lives of these families, and the risk of social isolation they face.

View detailed findings
View press release

Isn't it a pity?

Inclusion expert Torrie Dunlap explains why we are marginalising children with special needs - and doing so with the best of intentions.
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Understanding Persons With Disabilities

A handbook on special needs created by the National Council Of Social Service. It provides practical tips on how to engage with persons with disability, guidance on the right terminology to use, and layman descriptions of often-misunderstood disabilities.
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The Index for Inclusion

A tool to help schools move towards inclusive education in a systematic manner, the Index for Inclusion was developed by Prof Tony Booth, a Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge. Translated into almost 40 languages, the index crystallises the work of Prof Booth, who has been researching, teaching and writing about the principled development of systems and settings in education for more than 30 years.
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Singapore and the UNCRPD

A quick guide to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Singapore signed in 2012. Written in simple English, this paper by the Disabled People’s Association offers an accessible guide to the Convention and what it means for Singapore.
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Educating Peter

In 1975, the US Congress passed the Federal law 94-142 that gives many students with disabilities the right to attend school with non-disabled students. This documentary follows Peter, a boy with Down’s Syndrome, in his first year in a regular school, showing the struggle that Peter, his new classmates and teachers met, and how they overcame it.
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Kindle Garden

Singapore's first full-fledged preschool, Kindle Garden, over-subscribed within 3 months of operations. Developed by AWWA and the Lien Foundation, the preschool will progressively enrol children of all disabilities and severities, alongside typically-developing children at a ratio of 30:70.
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Lien Foundation
435 Orchard Road
#12-06 Wisma Atria
Singapore 238877


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