Mission: I'm Possible
DEAR PARENT, DOES YOUR KID NEED HELP?
Each year about 1600 children are referred to child development units at KKH and NUH for possible developmental problems. Their parents are too busy working, or are unsure how to help their kids. Some don’t even know their kids have problems! But the good news is that 90% of these children can be integrated into a normal preschool setting given appropriate intervention.
YES, EARLY DETECTION IS KEY.
Making all this possible is Mission: I’mPossible (MIP). This is an early detection and intervention programme to help preschoolers with developmental needs. MIP is a close collaboration with the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital Department of Child Development (KKH-DCD) and PAP Community Foundation (PCF).
HOW DOES MIP WORK?
The three-year MIP programme started its pilot run in July 2009, reaching out to 25 PCF centres within the Pasir Ris–Punggol GRC. This programme is the first of its kind that screens, flags out and addresses the needs of preschoolers with developmental needs in mainstream preschools. MIP not only provides screening and therapy but also equips preschool teachers with the skills to help these children, all within a cost-effective community model.
WHAT HELP DO THE CHILDREN GET?
Preschoolers under the MIP attend ten therapy sessions within each cycle. For the convenience of the child and parents, therapy sessions are held during school hours and within the preschool. This reduces dropout rates and enables better teacher-parent collaboration. To better support financially needy families who require help in paying for these services, an MIP Fund was started to cover the costs of these services.
A multi-disciplinary clinical team work hand-in-hand with the preschool teachers and LSEds (Learning Support Educators) to support the child’s development. LSEds are experienced preschool teachers who are trained in bridging and embedding intervention goals into classroom routines. They are also the ones who facilitate the interaction and communication between all parties—the children, teachers, parents and therapists—and are a crucial factor to the effectiveness of the community-based programme.
For more details, please refer to the MIP Walk-Through.
WHO MAKE UP THE CLINICAL TEAM?
The MIP clinical team comprises an Educational Psychologist, Speech Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Learning Support Facilitator, Administrative Assistant, and Research Assistant. In addition, a Pediatrician from KKH will support the team in diagnosing and developing care plans for children in the programme. Their responsibilities are to manage the placement of children with developmental problems; providing medical and pediatric management of preschool children such as consultancy and therapy services; and to train pre-school educators to be LSEds.
HOW DO THE CHILDREN BENEFIT?
Trained preschool teachers, early detection and intervention, and enlightened parents can make a difference in the lives of children with developmental needs, helping them learn and stay in mainstream education. MIP’s community-based model brings specialist care to the preschool, providing therapy and educational support in the most appropriate and inclusive environment for special-needs preschoolers. The therapy sessions are heavily subsidised to ensure they remain affordable and accessible. MIP financial assistance from the Lien Foundation grant is also available to families in need.
The government, seeing the value and merits of this programme, has nationalised MIP and made it available islandwide.