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Page to Disability Community Network


Definitions and Scope

Target Population: People with Disabilities

Persons with disabilities refer to “those whose prospects of securing, retaining places and advancing in education and training institutions, employment and recreation as equal members of the community are substantially reduced as a result of physical, sensory, intellectual and developmental impairments.” Enabling Masterplan, MSF

[Point to note: Lien Centre for Social Innovation adopts this definition in their recent publication titled People with Physical Disabilities in Singapore: Understanding Disabling Factors in Caregiving, Education, Employment and Finances.]

There is no standard definition of disability which is accepted by all stakeholders. For example, NCSS/SSI lists a SSI course on mental illness under disability category, but in practice persons with chronic mental illness are not eligible for disability policies and programmes. This group is also not covered by Public Transport Concession Scheme for Persons with Disabilities, for which only those with "Physical Disability, Visual Impairment, Hearing Impairment, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability" qualify.

"But this differs from that of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, because those with mental health impairments - such as depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorders - are left out. When asked about this, the MSF says not all mental illnesses result in disabilities, and with medication and treatment, patients are able to function well on their own." (ST 8 May 2016)

Client Segments

Page to Adults with Autism

Page to Visual Impairment

Page to Hearing Impairment

Page to Arts and Disability

Page to Intellectual Disability

Size of the Problem

No definite data of the total number of people with disability exists, because no official central registry or comprehensive disability study has been done. According to 2013 data from SG Enable, Singapore has about 100,000 people with disabilities. In view of Singapore’s ageing population, this number will increase by 2030 as more people acquire a disability through the ageing process. According to Singapore’s population index, “the number of elderly citizens will triple to 900,000 by 2030.” Population.sg

In Singapore, those with disabilities are estimated to make up 3 per cent of the population or well over 100,000 people.(ST 27 Sep 2016)

Some disability prevalence rates of Singapore citizens with disabilities are available from the Enabling Masterplan 2017-2021. According to the foreword of the Enabling Masterplan 2017-2021, 2.1% of the student population have disabilities. (Source: Ministry of Education. This is based on the number of reported cases of students with sensory impairment, physical impairment, autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability. The total student population is put at approximately 460,000). Of the resident population aged 18 – 49 years, 3.4% have disabilities (Source: National Council of Social Service. Based on a random sampling of 2,000 Singapore residents and permanent residents aged 18 and above done by NCSS in 2015, the self-reported disability prevalence rate was 3.4% for those aged 18 – 49 years old. This includes those who acquired disabilities due to accidents and illness.) Of the resident population aged 50 years and above, 13.3% have disabilities (Source: National Council of Social Service. Based on a random sampling of 2,000 Singapore residents and permanent residents aged 18 and above done by NCSS in 2015, the self-reported disability prevalence rate was 13.3% for those aged 50 years and above. This includes those who acquired disabilities due to accidents, illness and older age).

To view and download the Enabling Masterplan 2017-2021, go to the Ministy of Social and Family Development's Disabilities and Special Needs page: (Enabling Masterplan 2017-2021)

Ideal Outcomes

Inclusive society

Needs of People with Disabilities

To insert lien report

Need access to relevant information

Existing Resources

AbleThrive - curates content for people with disabilities and their families pn life skills, relationships, travle, parenting etc. https://ablethrive.com/

Gaps and Their Causes

Possible Solutions

Early Intervention

Need for timely detection and accurate diagnosis of disability

Existing Resources

Gaps and Their Causes

Possible Solutions

Need for timely therapy and educational support for infants and young children with special needs

Existing Resources

Developmental Support Programme provides support in speech and language, social skills, motor skills, behaviour and literacy for children with mild developmental needs

Early Intervention Programme for Infants & Children (EIPIC) -SPD - 465 clients, 41 graduated, 27 progressing to mainstream primary and the rest to SPED

Development Support Programme - SPD - 345 clients

Educational Psychology Service (EPS) of Students Care Service (SCS) seeks to serve children studying in mainstream schools, with needs for diagnostic assessment of learning and behavioural-related issues, including developmental disorders like autism and dyslexia; children with needs requiring intervention and learning programmes. This is done through our repertoire of assessment and intervention services delivered by a team of Educational Psychologists, Associate Psychologists and Learning Specialists (EPS of Students Care Service)

Gaps and Their Causes

Possible Solutions


Need for accessible and affordable mainstream education

Existing Resources

Disability support facilities & programmes in mainstream schools:

Allied Educator Scheme

Disability Support Office in IHLs

Teachers trained in Special Needs (TSN) scheme

Government subsidies and funds to defray the costs of accommodation required to attend mainstream schools. These notably include the Assistive Technology Fund, Computer Access Trust Fund and Special Education Needs Fund.

Singaporean students with severe disabilities who are studying at polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) will be eligible for up to S$70,000 in subsidies.Full-time students with severe hearing, physical or visual impairment can use the funding to buy the necessary assistive technology (AT) devices and support services for their education. The subsidies fall under a new high-needs category under the Ministry of Education's (MOS) Special Educational Needs fund. Students with less severe physical impairments will still be provided with up to S$5,000 to purchase necessary AT devices, and eligible students with less severe hearing or visual impairment will receive up to S$25,000 in subsidies.(CNA 20 Sep 2017)

-Bursaries and scholarships ( SPD Education Programme - 94 clients, $95,000 disbursed; APB and Microsoft shcolarship)

Singapore's first inclusive pre-school: Kindle Garden by AWWA http://www.kindlegarden.com.sg/

Gaps and Their Causes

Vocational training provided by SPED schools has not kept up with changing job market; some roles will dry up while others will be outsourced or filled on a project basis. Consequently, SPED graduates who were trained to perform simple manual jobs find themselves out of jobs.

Uneven quality of SPED schools can be due to limitations in governance, manpower and curriculum development.

Other systematic barriers exist: inadequate teacher training on special needs; insufficient AEDs; insufficient funds to purchase AT devices and supporting services like sign language interpretation; professional ambiguity of AEDs; lack of special needs facilities and/or programmes at mainstream schools, PWDs are automatically exempted from Compulsory Education

Mainstream schools are still not fully accessible to PWDs

-Fees of Inclusive pre-school are high post-pilot phase when funding runs out: Kindle Garden told parents in 2017 that it would raise fees from $980 to $1,880 a month for full-day childcare from January 2018. The median fee for full-day childcare is $867 as of the end of June ([1] ST 1 Aug 2017).

Possible Solutions

review vocational training to ensure that skills and knowledge taught meet the changing needs of the job market

extend Compulsory Education Act to children with disabilities

MOE, VWOs and MSF to work together to ensure all children with disabilities are given adequate support and accommodation to succeed in mainstream schools

Need for mainstream teachers to receive adequate training on special educational needs

Existing Resources

As of 2005, the National Institute of Education requires all beginning teachers to undergo a compulsory 12-hour module on special needs. The module aims to equip all teachers with a basic understanding of students with special needs.

Further, 10% of teachers in mainstream primary schools and 20% in secondary schools have undergone more in-depth training on special educational needs, and received a Certificate Level training in Special Needs. In particular, they were taught how to plan instruction, adapt and differentiate curriculum to meet the diverse needs of students.

As of 2015, more than 1,500 polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education staff have undergone training in basic special educational needs. The MOE aims to train all polytechnic and ITE academic staff similarly over the next five years.

Gaps and Their Causes

Possible Solutions

Need for quality Special Education that prepares PWDs for independent living and employment

Existing Resources

For the past decade, the MOE has committed $150 million for upgrading and building of the 20 SPED schools to provide better facilities and meet the rising demand for places catering to specific disabilities.

The MOE and SPED schools also worked together to introduce a new framework for vocational education to guide SPED schools in implementing a structured programme of vocational education that would effectively prepare their students to be employable. Presently, vocational education programmes will lead to national certification in selected industry areas for SPED schools serving students with mild intellectual disability.

To encourage students with and without disabilities to play and learn together, MOE also collaborated with SPED schools to introduce a satellite partnership programme. Under this programme, mainstream schools located near SPED schools conduct joint social and learning activities through Community Involvement Programme and Co-Curricular Activities. Today, 16 out of 20 SPED schools are involved in satellite partnerships.

MOE also enhanced professional development opportunities for special education teachers to attract and retain talent to the profession. In particular, they launched an Advanced Diploma in Special Education and the MOE Masters Scholarship in Special Education in 2014, and provides SPED schools $1,100 annually for each SPED staff to engage in professional development activities, and organised Curriculum Leadership Teams and Professional Learning Teams in every SPED school with the aim of driving curriculum transformation.

MOE also introduced a Special Education Financial Assistance Scheme which fully waives the school fees, textbooks and uniforms, as well as waives 75% of examination fees for financially needy Singaporean students in MOE-funded SPED schools.

Gaps and Their Causes

Possible Solutions

Need for integration and peer acceptance at school

Existing Resources

ITE's Buddy’IN, a co-curricular activity which brings students of different abilities together (CNA 20 Sept 2017)

Inclusive Pre-Schools: Kindle Garden (AWWA)


Gaps and Their Causes

Possible Solutions

Need for smooth and achievable school to work transition

Existing Resources

School-to-work transition programme (at 5 SPED) [MOE, MSF, SGEnable]

SG Enable’s Internship Programme (partnered with 30 companies and 3 local universities)

Gaps and Their Causes

Implementation is a challenge.

Member of Parliament Ms Denise Phua: “The transition for students from school to work is not happening fast enough.” One way to quicken this process would be to extend the SkillsFuture initiative to special education schools.

Possible Solutions

Special needs education sector: “more resources should be allocated to put in place efforts like structured internship programmes that are aligned with the SkillsFuture initiative.”

Employment & Financial Independence

Aspire to an “Inclusive workplace”, which should include:

- Fair recruitment and procurement practices

- Policies concerning equality and human rights, working conditions, dignity at work, employee welfare are in place

- Reasonable accommodation made by employers: “an accommodation is defined as any change in work environment or processes to allow an employee with disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. As such, accommodations can be broadly categorised into either job or workplace accommodation. Examples of job accommodation include job trial, part time employment, flexible working hours and telecommuting. Workplace accommodation addresses the accessibility of the compound or facility. These accommodations are relevant not only to persons with disabilities, but also to other employees as well. Amongst other benefits, reasonable accommodations can lead to employee retention.”[file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/SG-Enable-Online-HRM-Series-Recruitment-and-Hiring.pdf SG Enable Online HRM Series]

- A welcoming workplace culture: “Inclusion goes beyond merely having a mix of employees with different demographics and backgrounds in the workplace. It is about appreciating employees for the unique value they bring to the workplace, and leveraging on those differences to add value to the organisation so that both the person and the organisation can flourish.” (TAFEP’s Creating an Inclusive Workplace toolkit

"Inclusive workplaces are rare in Singapore, where persons with disabilities (PWDs) comprise just 0.55 per cent of the resident labour force. They are mainly employed in the hospitality, food and beverage, wholesale and retail, and administrative support sectors" (ST 1 Oct 2017)

Need for financial support

Existing Resources Youth Aspiration Award from SPD [Still around?]

Need to be job ready

Employability = Vocational skills + soft skills

Existing Resources

-Employment Support Programme Training (SPD - 146 clients. Provides training places to help increase employability of job seekers withd isabilities)

-Sheltered Workshops also provide vocational training

-Minds regularly organises internships in industries as diverse as laundromats, supermarkets, hardware shops and car wash facilities in petrol stations for its clients starting from the age of about 16.By around age 19, some PWDs can be guided towards working in sheltered workshops that cater to them, doing work such as packing, retail, baking and making crafts. Others are placed in the general labour market, where they are mentored and supported by job coaches from Minds who ensure that they are not stressed in their new environment or check that they are able to take public transport to work. (ST 1 Oct 2017).

Gaps and Their Causes

Potential Solutions

Need for diverse job offerings that accommodate the different preferences, requirements and circumstances of PWDs and the concerns of their caregivers

[should the need statement include'preference' since most people don't get the luxury of only taking jobs they like?]

Existing Resources

- Employment placement services (SG Enable, SPD, Autism Resource Centre, MINDS)

- Open Door Job Portal by SGEnable

- Job club of IMH

- Sheltered Workshop ( SPD - 126 clients)

-Employment Support Programme ( Job placement and Job Support Programme, SPD - 500 clients)

Gaps and Their Causes

- PWDs pigeonholed into certain job roles: hospitality, food & beverages, customer service; Mostly low-skilled jobs e.g. dish collector, cleaner, somewhat higher skilled jobs in offices are at entry level e.g. receptionist [Need Data]

- Companies and their HR may not be ‘diversity ready’? [Need Evidence]

Possible Solutions

- Job placement and support services can be linked to mainstream job agencies to access larger network of potential employers [Specify how?]

- Use quota system for hiring, but only applicable to large companies or government agencies (ST 6 Aug 2016)

- vayable can allow tours to be provided by people with disabilities

Need for information on available job opportunities for persons with disabilities

Existing Resources

- Job Search: Open Door Job Portal

- Employment placement services (SG Enable is the focal point, but services provided by SPD, Autism Resource Centre and MINDS)

Gaps and Their Causes

- Anecdotal evidence that VWOs do not share full range of job options but pre-select choices for their clients [Source?]

Possible Solutions

Need for employers to understand the capabilities of PWDs and be willing to hire

- As of December 2015, 4,500 employers received subsidies from the Special Employment Credit scheme for hiring 5,700 disabled workers. ARC president Denise Phua said more employers are willing to employ the disabled due to the tight labour market (ST 19 Apr 2016)

- The Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) had 35 companies hiring its clients last year, up from 25 the year before. The number of companies hiring clients of the Autism Resource Centre (ARC) grew from four in 2012, to nine last year. Uniqlo started hiring intellectually disabled employees in 2012, and has 20 such workers in its 16 outlets here. Starbucks hired six clients from ARC for its 100th store here, which opened at the Fullerton Waterboat House two months ago. It has committed to have ARC clients form at least 25 per cent of the staff at the store.(ST 19 Apr 2016)

Study by Kathy Charmaz on workplace disclosures, for reference

Existing Resources

- Inclusive Business Forum - Jointly organised by SG Enable and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (See also Business Times Article)

- Enabling Employer’s Network

- Periodic public education campaigns such as ‘More Than Dis’ campaign led by a trio of undergraduates from NTU.

- Special Employment Credit scheme: Government pays up to 16 per cent of the salary of workers with physical or intellectual disabilities, for those earning up to $4,000 a month (ST 19 Apr 2016) See also

Gaps and Their Causes

- Inclusive workplaces are rare in Singapore, where persons with disabilities (PWDs) comprise just 0.55 per cent of the resident labour force. They are mainly employed in the hospitality, food and beverage, wholesale and retail, and administrative support sectors (ST 1 Oct 2017)

- Employer’s misconceptions and false assumptions about the abilities of those with disabilities (only a handful of them are educated in SPED schools and do not have the necessary skills and credentials to obtain high-wage, high-skill jobs) [Need evidence]

- Limited effectiveness because it is hard to change employer attitude: Mr Ong Peng Kai, 24, who has cerebral palsy, felt this sentiment first-hand when he tried to find a job last year. "I studied maths and economics at university so I sent out about 30 resumes to banks, investment and insurance companies but none of them got back to me," said Mr Ong, who was eventually hired by NCSS as an assistant manager. The president of the Disabled People's Association, Mr Nicholas Aw, said the campaign should target the young more. "Such educational campaigns will help but how much they can help is a question mark. Sometimes people are aware but they are just not walking the talk," he said. (ST 3 Jun 2016)

Possible Solutions

- Public education campaigns highlighting the strengths and abilities of those with disabilities and more career fairs for PWDs

Need for persons with disabilities to be work ready

Existing Resources

- Career coaching and guidance SG Enable + VWO Vocational assessment (ARC, SPD, MINDS) SG Enable’s iEnable provides emotional support and prepare clients for job interviews.

- SPD’s Transitional Programme for people with acquired disabilities

- Workfare Training Support scheme

- Open Door Programme (Training grants)

- Skillsfuture initiative

- SPED vocational training programmes

Gaps and Their Causes

- As of August 24, 2015, SPD Transitional Programme has taken in 63 clients and matched nine to jobs [source?]

Possible Solutions

Need for accessible work environment

Existing Resources

Universal Design

Assistive Technology Fund

Open Door Programme

Gaps and Their Causes

Using principles of universal design, the BCA has improved accessibility of our built environment. But Richard Kuppusamy, a wheelchair user, commented that the layout in the BCA code is more conducive to assistants of persons with disabilities, rather than for more independent users who do not need help.

Even with the subsidies, technology aids are costly for persons with disabilities; those from low-middle income households do not qualify for a subsidy after means-testing.

Sometimes the subsidy is not enough to cover a person’s assistive technology needs over a lifetime.

Possible Solutions

increase the means testing of Assistive Technology Fund to cover more persons with disabilities from lower-middle income households

Need for fair recruitment and procurement practices and opportunities for career progression, including employment rights

Existing Resources

- Employment Act

- TAFEP - Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices (made up of SNEF, NTUC, MOM) Provides Resources and Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices

- Signed UNCRPD

- Participatory research project on employment discrimination by DPA (ST 31 Oct 2016)

Gaps and Their Causes

- Employment Act - no legal recourse for offenders

- TAFEP Guidelines is not strictly binding; lack bite; no legal recourse;

- Government favours promotional and educational approach; Laws may adversely affect businesses; Government wants to avoid market rigidity. Government’s view: kindness and compassion cannot be legislated. Nor can they be enforced. It follows, then, that moral suasion, raising public awareness and promoting civic consciousness are more realistic ways to bring about change. (TODAY 3 Dec 2013)

- Legislation is the way to change mindsets and attitudes because people are apathetic (ST 16 Nov 2013)

- Possible that many companies, including government agencies and statutory boards, continue to ask in their application forms if a job candidate has any physical or mental disabilities. (Forum ST 13 Aug 2016)

Possible Solutions

- Anti-discrimination laws and/or ombudsman body together with public education. [Existing legislation we can study, adapt and adopt from are the Americans with Disabilities Act, the United Kingdom’s Equality Act and Australia’s Disability Discrimination Act, which are regarded as being the gold standard. (Alvan Yap)]

- Nicholas Aw: "Mindsets are hard to change so we need to go into the schools and start with the young because they are more open and receptive." (ST 3 Jun 2016)

Need for ongoing work support

Existing Resources

Open Door Programme (SGEnable)

Inclusion fundamentals workshop for employers (DPA)

Integrated Community Space (Enabling Village)

Special Employment Credit (See https://www.sec.gov.sg/Pages/More-Information-on-SEC.aspx)

Workfare Income Supplement

Transition Programme for Employment (SPD - 40 clients, stroke or spinal cord injuries to return to mainstream employment)

Gaps and Their Causes

- “140 companies have applied for the fund, with an average claim of $3,000. About 650 persons with disabilities have been placed in jobs, including those supported under the initiative.” There is not a high level of awareness by employers of available schemes or they do not tap onto the schemes because they think it’s complicated and cumbersome

- HR is diversity ready? (e.g. HR side should have a policy to answer such queries and address any issues arising from having a staff with disability)

- low take-up rate? (need statistics)

Possible Solutions

Outreach programs to familiarise public with the schemes

Rehabilitation and Daily Living

Need for rehabilitation and medical treatment

Existing Resources

Continuing Therapy Programme (speech and occupational therapy for under 18, SPD - 186 clients)

Home Therapy (unable to leave homes) (SPD - 12 clients)

Day Care and Maintenance Therapy (SPD - 195 clients)

Rehabilitation Centres (SPD - 470 clients)

Need to be independent in activities of daily living (DACS?)

Caregiver Support

Need for caregivers respite

Existing Resources

Weekend Respite at SPD (14 pax served as of 31 Mar 2017)

Agency X has thie servse

Gaps and Their Causes

Potential Solutions

Need to provide for people with disabilities after caregivers pass on

Existing Resources

Special Needs Trust Fund (SNTC)

Gaps and Their Causes

447 SNTC accounts currently opened, out of 117,000 estimated people who might require it (ST 29 Mar 2017)

[“Special needs children's trust fund to get boost” ST 22 June 2011] some parents or guardians are struggling to afford the minimum $5,000 they need to use the government-backed fund. Special Needs Trust Company general manager Esther Tan said the company has so far reached out to about 2,000 parents and caregivers through more than 50 public events at places such as special needs schools and hospitals. But only about 350 approached the company afterwards to develop care plans. Fewer eventually start accounts. To date, only 115 accounts have been set up with the non-profit firm. There are other ways parents can ensure their special needs children are provided for. For example, parents can start Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts for them or nominate them as the beneficiaries of their CPF savings or insurance policies. Parents unable to come up with $5,000 can also instruct executors of their wills to liquidate their assets after they die and start trust accounts with the Special Needs Trust Company. Many parents have asked if they can use their CPF savings to fund the minimum sum, she added. But CPF funds can be used only for approved purposes under the CPF Act. Setting up a trust for special needs dependants is not of them.

Potential Solutions

Social Inclusion

Need for children with special needs to be part of community outside of school

According to a Lien Foundation survey in 2016, of the 835 parents of special needs children who were surveyed, four in 10 think their children spend too little time in the community outside of school.Nearly half of those surveyed said their children do not have friends without disabilities (ST 2 Oct 2017)

Need for public to emphatically understand the circumstances PWDs face and know how to support and interact with them

Existing Resources

Society Staples

A social enterprise that uses mass engagement platforms to educate public about experiences of people with disabilities; provides team building services for corporates: eg experiencing blindness, learning sign language etc.


Purple Parade


See the True Me


Buddy'IN, a programme aimed at socially integrating graduating students from special education schools with their peers from institutes of higher learning, through semi-structured social activities and sessions.(ST 17 Jun 2016)

December 3rd, 2017, the International Day of People with Disabilities -AbleThrive is hosting meetups around the world for people with disabilities, their families and allies to come together

Lien Centre for Social Innovation Workshop on Inclusion - Allyship 101


Gaps and Their Causes

For 'See the True Me' there is a question about the reach of these campaigns because many at a forum, many from disability sector have not seen or heard about it

Invisible disabilities (learning disorders, hearing impairment) are less obvious, and therefore the public may not understand their behaviors and support may be less forthcoming (ST 28 May 2016)

Mr Andrew Soh, assistant director at Down Syndrome Association, said public attitudes are less favourable towards people with autism and intellectual impairments, compared with those with physical disabilities, because people fear what they cannot see. "People can't tell how serious their disability is and don't know what to say or how to help them," he said.(ST 3 Jun 2016)

Possible Solutions

Need to communicate effectively with one another and others

MIND’s keyword signing as total communication


Need for mobility and access to transportation

Existing Resources Transportation subsidies:

Taxi Subsidy Scheme

VWO subsidy scheme

Public Transport Concession Scheme for Persons with Disabilities

Assistive devices for drivers with disabilities (ST 24 Oct 2016)

Accessible public transportation:

UberAssist Channel News Asia report

Wheelchair accessible taxis see taxisingapore.com and LTA accessibility push

Wheelchair Accessible Buses (About 80% of buses are wheelchair accessible, and LTA aims for 100% coverage by 2020).

Disabled facilities at MRT stations and in trains (More than 80% of MRT stations have at least two barrier free access routes).

Accommodation for drivers with disabilities:

Car Park Label Scheme for Persons with Physical Disabilities

SPD provides training for Tower Transit bus drivers how to help commuters with disabilities (ST 28 Apr 2016)

Gaps and Their Causes

Transportation costs, while subsidised, are still high for lower income PWDs

Cheaper transport options such as buses and trains are either too crowded for wheelchair users or other persons with disabilities OR there are service issues, such as some unprofessional or even discriminatory drivers or passengers.

Open prams used by caregivers now allowed on public buses, but not all bus drivers realise this yet (ST 2 Oct 2016)

Possible Solutions

Need for access to digital media

Existing Resources

Gaps and Their Causes

Potential Solutions

-Web Accessibility Guidelines https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/

-Accessibility reviews of the web https://www.abilitynet.org.uk/


Need for access to leisure and recreational activities

Existing Resources

ActiveSG is promoting disability sports. Various sports have been adapted for them. In Singapore, the range of sports for people with disabilities includes handcyling, swimming, table tennis and boccia, a ball game that can be played by wheelchair-users with motor-skill impairment (ST 27 Sep 2016)

The inclusive playgrounds in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and Ghim Moh and the complementary Children in Action programme (ST 17 Jun 2016)

Running Hour A sports co-operative that promotes integration of persons with special needs through running. We have members who are mildly intellectually challenged, physically challenged and visually challenged joining us to keep fit. We welcome anyone passionate about running to join us as running guides.

"Inclusive" art workshop to encourage interaction between children with and without special needs. Run by Superhero Me, a non-governmental organisation that runs art programmes for children (ST 2 Oct 2017).

Free entry for people with disabilities and caregivers to (special exhibitions of) NHB museums (ST 15 April 2018 “Free entry for people with disabilities”)

Gaps and Their Causes

Sports take-up rate among people with disabilities remains low, though they stand to benefit more than able-bodied people by being active(ST 27 Sep 2016)

Reasons why people with disabilities may shun sports:(ST 27 Sep 2016) •Difficulty in getting transport to the sports facilities. •Cost of specialised equipment and transporting them. •Struggles with the basics of daily life that push the thought of exercise into the background. •Depending on volunteers to help out, such as transferring the person with disability from a normal wheelchair to a racing wheelchair. •A tendency to withdraw from society and an unwillingness to leave the house for various reasons. •Logistics. For instance, when a wheelchair racer travels overseas for races, he has to take along a special racing wheelchair, a regular wheelchair for moving around and a commode chair. •There may also be psychological factors such as confidence, self image issues and a self-perceived inability to do sports.

Lack of opportunities to prove themselves ;being overprotective could limit their exposure, hindering their ability to lead a fulfilling and independent life (CNA 21 Sep 2017)

Possible Solutions

There should be regular disability sports sessions in all special education schools and organisations for the disabled (ST 27 Sep 2016)

Collectively refrain from assuming what PWDs can or cannot do, never mind their condition. (CNA 21 Sep 2017)

Need opportunities to give back to society

Existing Resources SPD Youth Development Programme - Trained and mentored youths with disabilities to enable them to champion social causes and give back to the society.

Resource Directory

Voluntary Welfare Organisations



Down Syndrome Association (Singapore)


founded in 1995 by parents, has close to 1000 members, of which over 300 are persons with Down syndrome Operates a DSA Thriftshop at Telok Blangah Crescent



Muscular Dystrophy Association of Singapore (MDAS)





http://www.bizlink.org.sg/ training and employment for people with disabilities One of Bizlink's biggest businesses is providing cleaning teams to other companies. These teams are made up of able-bodied workers and those with disabilities (ST 1 Oct 2017).

Special education schools SPED

Rainbow Centre

Social Enterprises that provide services for people with disabilities

Olive Tree Development Centre


Social Enterprises or Businesses that hire people with disability

Dignity Kitchen


Personalised Love




Social Food Inc


Incorporated in 2013, Social Food Inc. Pte Ltd is an established Halal-certified food caterer that provide people with disabilities with employment training

Started by Sim Sin Sin. See Case Study of Social Food Inc

WISE Enterprise




Six of the 25 workers at Adrenalin have disabilities and other special needs. Staff members include two deaf persons, an employee who uses a wheelchair and people recovering from mental illness (ST 1 Oct 2017).

Holiday Inn Singapore

Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre hotel in Cavenagh Road - 12 per cent of the more than 200 staff are PWDs, staff adjust to the different ways of communication of some PWD employees, some of whom have intellectual disabilities or autism (ST 1 Oct 2017). .

Han's Group

Han's Group, about 50 employees, or 10 per cent of its workforce, are persons with disabilities (ST 1 Oct 2017).

Disabled People's Organisations

Disabled People's Association


Friends of the Disabled Society


Government Agencies

MSF Disability Division


NCSS Disability Services



Scholarships and Bursaries

Dare to Dream

The scholarship provides special needs persons, who are successful in gaining entry into a diploma programme at the LaSalle College of the Arts, with funding of fees for the full duration of the diploma programme at the College. Dare To Dream


World institute on Disability https://wid.org/

Needs and Gaps Reports

Disability Landscape in Singapore: Needs and Gaps Report 2018

Disability Landscape in Singapore: Needs and Gaps Report 2019

Disability Landscape in Singapore: Needs and Gaps Report 2020


There are currently 9 team members in the Disability Policy Network

They come from organisations such as DPA, NVPC, NYC, IHPC (A*Star) and IPS.

You don't need to join the team to contribute, but if you would like to do more, please contact: Sumita Kunashakaran at advocacy@dpa.org.sg or Justin Lee at justin.lee@nus.edu.sg

The objectives of the Disability Policy Network are:

1. To establish a network of organisations and individuals with an interest in Disability issues. The network will convene every quarterly.

2. Select and study issues prioritised by its members. Issue briefs will be disseminated to members and Policy briefs will be written collectively after dialogue.

3. An Annual Needs & Gaps Report will be produced and submitted to relevant government agencies as a representation of the views of the sector.