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Definitions and Scope


The medical pathological model of autism

Singapore's Autism Resource Centre regards autism as a lifelong developmental disability that affects a person’s ability to make sense of the world and relate with others. The degree of autism can vary on 2 dimensions, mainly the severity of autism and one's intellectual ability.

Can autism be cured?

There is currently no known “cure” for autism. Children do not ‘outgrow’ autism[1] but symptoms may lessen with intervention. Structured intervention and training will help the individuals acquire skills, but not cure the condition. There is a wide body of research to support the knowledge that young children experience significant improvements when intervention is started at the earliest possible age.

How are people with different degrees of Autism understood?

Autism is known as a spectrum condition as no two persons diagnosed with autism[2] are the same. They may differ in the interaction of 2 key dimensions:

  • Severity of Autism
  • Intellectual Ability

Any person with autism may have differing degrees of autism as well as intellectual abilities. This helps us understand that any combination may exist and we must not make assumptions that high autism always implies low ability or vice versa.

Every person with autism is to be understood so that we can find the best way to support them and help them better adapt to the community.

Autism as parallel embodiment

autism as a Parallel Embodiment – whose system of social connectivity is based on an elemental-material Space of Mind, and from which emerges an alternative empathic system

Children & Youth

See Just Cause Asia's sector report on Children & Youth with Autism in Singapore here.


As of 2015, there are about 30,000 people with autism in Singapore.[1]

Based on statistics from the Autism Resource Centre, in a city of 5 million people 50,000 of them have autism, meaning that 1% of Singapore's population have this disorder. Out of this 50,000, 11,500 are under the age of 19.

Desired impact for target group

(For children) To improve in their areas of weakness and maximise their potential. For example, a child may require intensive speech therapy if lack of speech is considered the main issue that hinders them from further development. The learning curve for the preschooler with autism is different from his/her peers. Children often require explicit instruction and practice of the core missing skills in autism in the areas of social interaction, communication, self-regulation and organisational skills. in order to be more independent learners.


Objective #1: Providing Specialised Education to help them achieve their maximum potential

[Objectives should not be identified in term of its specific solutions—eg. youths need mentoring, seniors need hospice care, people with disabilities need day care (these are specific solutions we can be in the next column)—Instead, they should be defined in more ‘perennial terms’ because the solutions can change but the needs remain; I don’t need a CD player, or even an mp3 player, I need ‘portable music’ and currently the best solution seems to be Spotify]

[Also indicate the size of this specific need & projected demand were data is available]

Existing Resources

Support for Young Children

The WeCAN Early Intervention Programme (EIP) provides a comprehensive range of child services to support families and their children with autism aged 6 years and below. These services are autism-specific and specially tailored to meet the individual needs of the families and their children.

These child services include:

  • Autism Intervention for Children
  • Training for Families and Carers
  • Transition Planning for Child
  • Information and Referral

Support for Youth & Adults

Some students with autism will be able to learn new skills with their peers in mainstream school with specialist support. Others will need to have more specialised learning environments to learn in a more individualised way with the time and opportunity to practise and apply the skills they have learnt in many functional ways.

As a person with autism enters adoloscent and adulthood, there is a continued need for support, education, and guidance. Typically, ongoing services are required to help the person with autism to:

  • Develop social safety and problem solve everyday experiences
  • Negotiate higher education options, meet work productivity demands, and achieve vocational skills through job coaching
  • Develop daily routines, public survival skills, and understand and comply to social rules and expectations
  • Develop skills in planning, organising, and extending leisure pursuits
  • Develop positive relationships with others
  • Understand and cope with sexuality issues
  • Manage stress and anxiety

Here the available resources for special education

Gaps and Their Causes

[Some gaps could be due to 1) capacity of solution to meet the size & projected demand, 2) quality of solution (effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability, scalability etc.), 3) accessibility (geographical, cost to client)]

Possible Solutions

[Based on the specific gaps and reasons for those gaps, what might be solutions that can help? Insert existing but untapped resources, or new ideas that have not been considered yet]

Objective #2: To improve in their area of weakness to allow for further development

Existing Resources

Specialised clinics in the Institute of Mental Health provides specialist service in diagnosis as well as parent education and individualised intervention. Multiple forms of therapy including behavioural and occupational are also available.

Gaps and Their Causes

Possible Solutions

Objective #3: Helping more individuals with autism enter the workforce

Existing Resources

Employability and Employment Centre (E2C) by Autism Resource Centre:

- Offer services to enable people with autism to perform successfully

- 5-stage process consisting of pre-assessment, assessment of strengths, interests and needs, vocational training, job placement and on-site support at their workplace

- Offer services for employers who are interested in hiring people with autism in their companies (e.g. engage the supervisors and colleagues on how to work with these individuals)

Gaps and Their Causes

There is still discrimination against individuals with autism which deters many companies from hiring them.

- Stereotypes that they are inefficient workers

Possible Solutions

- Put in more resources into educating companies / businesses and raising awareness on the abilities and strengths of individuals with autism

Objective #4:

Existing Resources

Gaps and Their Causes

Possible Solutions

Resource Directory

Caregiver Resources & Blogs

Brenda Tan documents her journey with her son Calder:

A stay-at-home dad whose son is autistic:

[insert organization name]

Insert web link

  1. What is Autism? - Autism Resource Centre (Singapore)
  2. What is Autism? - Autism Resource Centre (Singapore)