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Sensory Disability

The two main types of sensory disabilities are visual and hearing impairment. People with such disabilities could have partial sensory loss, or have total blindness or deafness.

Here you will find information on the social support available for persons with sensory disabilities, resources and stories of people going through the same journey.

 

Therapy & intervention

Rehabilitation and therapy can help persons with sensory disabilities manage their conditions with confidence. Treatment goals vary from individual to individual.


Hearing loss

Just as typical individuals use spoken language to communicate their ideas, feelings and thoughts, deaf people use sign language for the same purposes.

Sign language is a visual-manual mode of communication that has its own grammar and linguistic structure. Singapore Sign Language (SgSL) is Singapore’s native sign language.

Not all persons with hearing loss use sign language to communicate - some also use speech and listening. Other communication approaches include Natural Auditory Oral (NAO) and Auditory Verbal Therapy (AVT) - both require the person to have residual hearing. For more information, click on the link below:


Vision loss

Individuals with visual impairment require multi-faceted care. This includes specialist medical care, special education programmes and specific support services. For children with visual impairment, support programmes should be geared towards both education and rehabilitation, whilst those for adults can be geared mainly towards rehabilitation.

To maximise their learning potential, it is recommended that children with visual impairment develop compensatory skills in addition to their normal developmental skills. The term “expanded core curriculum” was developed to describe a set of knowledge and skills needed by students with visual impairments that would enhance their academic learning as well as their independence later in life.

These skills include:

  • Compensatory academic skills, including the use of Braille
  • Orientation and mobility
  • Social interaction skills
  • Recreation and leisure skills
  • Visual/ sensory efficiency skills

For more information:

Services & programmes

Early Intervention Programme For Infants and Children (EIPIC)

EIPIC is likely the most common programme for children with special needs. Activities at EIPIC centres aim to maximise the child’s developmental growth potential and minimise the development of secondary disabilities.


Ad-hoc therapy for children and adults

If your child is not in a programme or school where therapy is already provided, he can still go for therapy sessions offered by other VWOs or private intervention centres. Adults with acquired disabilities can also consider therapy services to overcome challenges they face in independent living, working and socialising. Find out more in theTherapy & Interventionsection of this website.


Other useful information:

 

Child & adult care

Day care, residential programmes and other care services are available to support people with sensory disabilities. The type of service needed would vary based on the person’s needs and the level of support that his caregiver can provide.


Services & programmes

For caregivers looking for childcare and before- or after-school care, they could consider services such as the Integrated Child Care Programme (ICCP) for pre-schoolers aged 2 to 6, or Special Student Care Centres (SSCCs) for students aged 7 to 18. ICCP providers can admit children with sensory disabilities, but only those with prescribed hearing aids or corrective lenses.

More information can be found in theChild & Adult Caresection of this website.

For adults, getting a job is a step towards financial security and participation in society. Other options include Day Activity Centres (DACs).

 

Other useful information:

 

Education

Children and youths with disabilities have a few choices in their education pathways – the exact choice would depend on their individual needs and abilities.

Apart from early intervention programmes, pre-schoolers may enrol in inclusive or integrated pre-schools. Education is compulsory up to age 15 in Singapore, so children from age 7 will need to enrol in either Special Education (SPED) schools or mainstream primary schools.

Currently, there are two SPED schools dedicated to children with sensory disabilities: Canossian School (for those with hearing loss) and Lighthouse (for those with hearing and visual impairment). Both prepare students for mainstream examinations. Some SPED schools support students with multiple disabilities, and these will support those with sensory disabilities too.

In the mainstream education system, there are a few designated schools supporting students with sensory disabilities. These have specialised support, such as resource teachers who are trained to teach children with moderate to profound hearing loss or visual impairment. However, they can also choose to study in non-designated schools.

Parents can speak to medical professionals, social workers or teachers to seek their recommendations on whether the child should go to a SPED school or mainstream school. The links below also provide useful info.

 

Service providers:

 

Other useful information:

 

Preparing for work

There are initiatives to help students with disabilities prepare for working life – whether they’re in SPED schoolsor in Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs).

IHL students could check with their school’s Special Educational Needs (SEN) Support Office for work preparation opportunities or consider SG Enable’s IHL Internship and RISE Mentorship programmes to gain real-world working experience and start building their resumes. More information can be found in the Training & Employmentsection.

People who acquired a sensory disability due to accidents or illness may find it tough to get back to their old jobs or prepare for a new career. They could consider SG Enable's Hospital-to-Work programme, which offers services including rehabilitation, skills training and employment assistance.

 

Employment and skills upgrading

Job seekers with sensory disabilities may not require specialised employment assistance, but they can still check out other services designed to help them secure and hold down a job, such as CV clinics and job matching services. There are also grants and subsidies available to persons with disabilities to help defray training costs.

Assistive technology devices and software can help reduce, or even remove, challenges which persons with sensory disabilities may face at work. Employees can ask their employers to consider the Open Door Programme's Job Redesign Grant, which subsidises the cost of making accommodations for the employee, and covers the purchase of equipment, workplace modifications and redesigning of jobs or processes. Or they can choose to invest in personal AT devices – the Assistive Technology Fund may be able to subsidise the cost of the devices.


Find out more:

 

Other useful information:

Other forms of disability support

An overview of disability support available can be found on our Introduction page.

Money Matters

Information on financial assistance schemes, subsidies and grants.

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Transport

Information on accessibility features of public transport, concession cards.

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Assistive Technology

Hearing aids, Braille devices, magnifiers and other assistive technology to help you live and work more independently.

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Leisure & Recreation

Arts and sports venues, and other places of interest with barrier-free accessibility.

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