Singapore-Indonesia Collaboration in Special Education Expands to Benefit Children with Special Needs in Jakarta

The launch marks the Singapore International Foundation’s first special education project in Jakarta, Indonesia, aligned to increasing national demand for inclusive education.

Jakarta, Indonesia, 25 February 2019 – The Singapore International Foundation (SIF), in partnership with the Foundation for the Development of Children with Special Needs (YPAC) Jakarta and Singapore Health Services (SingHealth), launched a four-year training project in Jakarta, Indonesia today. Titled Occupational Therapy for Children with Special Needs, the project aims to enhance support for children with special needs in this city.

This project rides on the success of an earlier SIF Special Education (SPED) initiative, Special Needs Education in Medan (2013 – 2015). In partnership with special needs school Yayasan Abdi Kasih, over 100 SPED teachers were trained to apply occupational and speech therapy strategies in managing their classrooms, uplifting the lives of children with special needs in Medan.

Over the next four years, a team of Singapore International Volunteers (SIV), comprising occupational therapists from KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), will train 50 SPED practitioners from YPAC Jakarta. Together, they will share knowledge, skills and experiences in occupational therapy. Among the pool of trainees, a core team of 20 master trainers will receive additional training to cascade their knowledge to others in the field. This will boost the project’s overall impact to benefit a wider community across the capital. Other participating SPED institutions in Jakarta include (in alphabetical order) Camila Care Centre, Ilmu Padi Foundation, Hermina Hospital Depok, Kevala Special School, Permataku Bintaro Clinic, Saraswati Learning Centre, Sayap Ibu Bintaro Foundation, Tri Asih Foundation, and YPAC Semarang.

The Indonesian SPED trainees will undergo four training components — clinical skills training which includes a study visit to Singapore for selected master trainers; the development and enhancement of management tools and strategies; professional sharing via a symposium; and public education for patients and their caregivers to increase awareness of patient care requirements.

By the end of the project, the trainees will be equipped to understand and execute fundamental behaviour management strategies for children with special needs, such as autism and cerebral palsy. These include matching developmental milestones to various activities performed by beneficiaries; using appropriate methods to teach self-care skills to the beneficiaries; and using relevant tools for assessing and documenting beneficiaries’ progress. Overall, the project is expected to directly benefit 2,000 members of the Indonesian community, including patients and their families, teachers, volunteers, and other supporting therapists.

Held at the YPAC Jakarta auditorium, the launch ceremony was graced by Ms Jean Tan, Executive Director of the SIF and Mrs Kumala Insiwi Suryo, Chairperson of YPAC Jakarta.

Ms Jean Tan, SIF Executive Director, said: “There is much to be done to reduce the barriers to education for children with disabilities in both Singapore and Indonesia. It is therefore heartening to see Singaporeans and Indonesians come together today, to collaborate and raise standards of support for children with special needs. It is also our hope that this new collaboration will further deepen people-to-people ties between our two communities.”

Mrs Kumala Insiwi Suryo, Chairperson of YPAC Jakarta, said: “We are delighted to partner the SIF and KKH in our goal of raising the quality of life of children with special needs in Jakarta. The sector is diverse and relies on collaboration across a wide variety of disciplines and experiences. Given this, we are sure that the new perspectives gained through this partnership will be invaluable. We are excited to be able to deepen our bonds with our Singaporean friends through this meaningful collaboration.”

Ms Soh Siok Khoon, SIV and Head, Occupational Therapy Service, KKH said, “In our role as allied health professionals, we have seen evidence that early intervention and support for children with special needs makes all the difference for their developmental growth. Empowering the children and the community enables long-term support and positive outcomes. It then becomes even more meaningful to be able to share and exchange knowledge and experience with our Indonesian friends. We are grateful for this partnership opportunity and look forward to working together with our neighbours.”

The SIF’s work in Indonesia began in 1992 primarily in the areas of healthcare and education capacity-building projects, and in recent years included projects in the areas of social entrepreneurship and arts and culture. On another level, the Occupational Therapy for Children with Special Needs projectcontributes to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 3, to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for people at all ages; and Goal 4, to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.



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