This is a guide to all things at the intersection of Disability, Singapore and social change. Feel free to edit if you’d like to improve it!


In 2004, the then-Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) refined the Advisory Council for the Disabled’s definition to include “developmental” disability. The definition of PWDs henceforth became “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”.

The Singapore Government’s classification of different disability types includes seven types of disability: 1) visual disability, 2) hearing disability, 3) physical disability, 4) intellectual disability, 5) learning disability, 6) autism spectrum disorder, and 7) multiple disabilities. Mental illness is not classified amongst these 7 issues, but rather is treated as a health issue, under the purview of the Health Promotion Board as well as the Institute of Mental Health.

According to global estimates, 4% of any population will have some form of disability—1,600 in a birth-cohort of 40,000 a year in Singapore. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for the Asia Pacific estimates a total of 131,000 disabled or 3% of the total population in Singapore.

The Singapore Government has strengthened its commitment toward disability employment by first signing the Ratification of the Convention of Persons with Disabilities (PwD) in November 2012, and then ratifying it on 18 August 2013. Singapore is expected to submit its initial report to the UN’s Committee on Rights of Persons with Disabilities within two years of ratification. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) was adopted by the United Nations in 2006 and came into force on 2008.

See also Disability Events and Disability Articles.

Key People

Names are in alphabetical order, hyperlinked to LinkedIn, else Facebook. Listing is based on prior experience in an area, plus a connection to Singapore in some way.

Aaron Ng, Abhimanyau Pal, Alvin Lim, Areena Loo, Balbir Singh, David Rutherford, Denise Phua, Dennis Ang, Dennis Lim, Fauziah Hanim Ahmad, Goh Keng Hwee, Grace Wong, Henry Quake, Judy Lim, June Tham, Keh Eng Song, Rebecca Tan, Ron-Chandran-Dudley, Tan Guan Heng

International Conventions & Networks

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilitiesand its Optional Protocol are serviced by a joint Secretariat, consisting of staff of both the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), based in New York, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. A concise explanation of the convention can be found here.

SG Networks & Associations

The Steering Committee for the Enabling Masterplan 2007-2011 was formed in September 2006 to enhance the integration of persons with disabilities in Singapore and to maximise their potential for independent living.

The Mental Capacity Act will allow Singaporeans to register the name of a trusted person who will manage their affairs in the event that they lose their mental faculties, and give powers to the court to appoint trusted persons to make decisions for children with intellectual disabilities.

SG Enable is an agency dedicated to enabling persons with disabilities by empowering them through easy access to information and referral services, enhancing employability options for them, and engaging the larger community in enabling them to live in a more inclusive society.

Special Needs Trust Company is the only non-profit trust company in Singapore set up to provide trust services for the benefit of persons with special needs.

Special Needs SG is a network for people in Singapore to connects individuals and organisations with an interest or involvement in disability issues.

Tetraplegia Workgroup is a non-profit voluntary group functioning under the umbrella of Friends of Tan Tock Seng Hospital (Singapore). It aims to cater to the needs of tetraplegics in the workgroup and most importantly to instill and foster a sense of "Family Spirit" into the workgroup.

SG Organisations & Companies

(these)abilities is a design & technology company building products that level the playing field for Persons with Disabilities be it at work, home, or at play. is our platform for Persons with Disabilities to share their problems & solutions with each other.
Asian Welfare Women's Association
Association for Persons with Special Needs
Autism Association (Singapore)
Autism Resource Centre
Bishan Home for the Intellectually Disabled
Bizlink Centre Singapore Limited
Bridge Learning
Canossian School
Christian Outreach to the Handicapped
CHEERS Learning Services
Disabled People’s Association
Down Syndrome Association of Singapore
Dyslexia Association of Singapore
Loan Advisor

Engineering Good (formerly known as Engineers Without Borders Asia) is a Singapore-based non-profit organisation that supports disadvantaged communities through humanitarian engineering. In Singapore, our focus is on assistive technology for persons with disabilities. We partner with disability organisation, and engage volunteer engineers to develop AT that is more affordable and better customised to our beneficiaries' needs.

ExtraOrdinary Horizons is a social enterprise for the deaf in Singapore. It is a company of aspiring deaf & hearing people who share their expertise in sign language, education/instruction, interpretation, and performances in various forms of acting, song-signing and percussion.
Handicaps Welfare Association
JJ's Haven
Metta Welfare Association
Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS)
Rainbow Centre
Red Cross Home for the Disabled
Riding for the Disabled Association of Singapore
Serve Hope
Silver Ribbon Singapore
Singapore Anglican Community Services
Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf)
Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH)
Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH)
Singapore Cheshire Home
Singapore Disability Sports Council
Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD)
Society for the Promotion of ADHD Research & Knowledge (SPARK)
Spastic Children's Association of Singapore
St Andrew's Autism Centre
SUN-DAC Centre for the Disabled
Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society
TOUCH Community Services
Very Special Arts

a) Assessment & Diagnosis

Identifying disability in a child, along with intervention, is crucial in helping them fulfill their potential to the fullest.Assessment and referral can be sought at Child Development Units and Child Guidance Clinics.See CEL for contact information.

KK Women's and Children's Hospital Child Development Unit helps children with developmental delays, speech and language delays, learning problems, behavioural problems, and autistic spectrum disorders.

National University Hospital Child Development Unit provides patients and their families with a family-centred and community-based approach to assessment and treatment of children with physical and developmental disabilities.

The Institute of Mental Health runs two Child Guidance Clinics at Sunrise Wing, IMH and Health Promotion Board (HPB) along Outram Road. Young patients between the ages six and 19 who are facing emotional or behavioural problems may seek consultation at either location. For children with autism, they can be seen at the Autism Clinic at Child Guidance Clinic (HPB) where the multidisciplinary team co-manages cases during the phases of assessment, diagnosis and intervention.

Diagnoses for visual disability are done by the SAVH while those for hearing disability are done by SADeaf and Taon Tock Seng Hospital’s Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic. See CEL for contact information.

b) Early Intervention services

Early intervention programmes, which not only help prevent further deterioriation, but also aids the child in his or her developmental learning. This enables the child to achieve his or her potential to the fullest in spite of any impairment. See CEL for more information.

AAS Autism Children’s Centre (Clementi)
AAS Autism Children’s Centre (Simei)
Autism Resource Centre – WeCAN Early Intervention Programme
AWWA Early Years Centre
EIPIC and First Challenge
Fei Yue Early Intervention Centre for Children
Metta Preschool
Rainbow Centre EIP (Margaret Drive)
Rainbow Centre EIP (Yishun)
SCAS – EIPIC Programme
SPD Building Bridges EIPIC Centre
SOMC: THK Moral EIPIC Centre (CCK)
SOMC: THK Moral EIPIC Centre (Woodlands)

Other Early Intervention Services
Bridge Learning
Communication For Life

Dyslexia Association of Singapore

Dynamics Therapy Centre for Kids Pte Ltd

Edunamics Pte Ltd

Focus on Individual Learning


JJ's Haven
Kaleidoscope Therapy Centre Pte Ltd

Kids Cove Pte Ltd

Kidz Pediatric Occupational Therapy Centre

Kidspace Learning Place


Leapfrogs Pte Ltd

Learn Different Centre for Language and Literacy

Linguistic Council Pte Ltd

OVSPRING Developmental Clinic Pte Ltd

Ozworks Therapy Pte Ltd

Presbyterian Community Services - Intervention Cum Educational Programme
Singapore General Hospital - Listen & Talk Programme

SPD Paediatric Rehabilitation Services

Speech Connection

The Counselling Place - Building Blocks for Learning and Behaviour

The Speech Pathology Centre Pte Ltd

Therapy Services Network

Thomson Paediatric Clinic Pte Ltd - Programme for Children with Learning Difficulties & Development Disorders
Wee Care International Pte Ltd

Integrated Childcare Centre Programme

Children with disabilities who are aged between 2 and 6 years ago can learn alongside their regular peers in an inclusive programme offered in existing child care centres. With a natural environment for a child to play, learn, socialise and grow up in, he or she can be better prepared to enter primary education at a later stage. See CEL for more information.

Care Corner Child Dev Centre (St George & Yishun)
Chee Hoon Kog Child Care Centre
Iyad Child Devlopment Centre (Choa Chu Kang & Jurong East)
Moral Child Development Centre
Presbyterian Community Services (Ang Mo Kio, Hougang, Jurong West, Marsiling, Tampines, Yishun)
Pu Ti Childcare Centre
Touch Family Dev Centre (Clementi & Hougang)
YWCA Child Development Centre (Marine Drive, Outram, West Coast)

c) Mainstreaming services

In 2004, MOE announced the following initiatives to support children with mild special educational needs in mainstream schools: Deployment of Allied Educators (Learning and Behavioural Support), previously known as Special Needs Officers, to support children with mild special educational needs in mainstream schools, and Training in special needs for a proportion of teachers in mainstream schools.

d) Support Services

Special Student Care Centre
Special student care centres provide before and after school care services to children with special needs aged 7 to 18 years attending either mainstream or special education schools. These aim to provide a conducive learning and care environment for children with special needs. The centres allow caregivers to remain in employment while their children are cared for in a safe environment outside of schooling hours. Special student care centres also provide educational support as well as the learning of social and life skills for independent living. See CEL for more information.

Canossaville Children's Home
Chao Yang Before and After School Care Centre
Kampung Senang Learning to Learn Centre
Moral Student Care Centre (Bedok North)
Moral Student Care Centre (Bukit Panjang)
Perdaus Student Care (Iyad)
Bethesda Sunshine Club – Student Care Centre
Waterfalls Student Care Centre (Singapore Tenkasi Muslim Welfare Society)

e) Special Education

Children with disabilities can choose to attend SPED schools that offer mainstream education. These SPED schools are run by VWOs funded by the Ministry of Education.See CEL and MOE for more information.

AWWA School
Canossian School
Chaoyang School
Delta Senior School
Eden School
Fernvale Gardens School
Grace Orchard School
Lighthouse School
Katong School
Lee Kong Chian Gardens School
Margaret Drive School
Metta School
Pathlight School
Singapore School for the Deaf
Spastic Children's Association School
St Andrew’s Autism School
Tanglin School
Towner Gardens School
Woodlands Gardens School
Yishun Park School

f) Open Employment

Individuals with disabilities seeking employment can enjoy a wide range of support services available to them. These include vocational assessment and training, job preparation, job placement and on-site job support. Those who has slight to moderate disabilities - but who possess the right skills - are encouraged to look for jobs in the open market. For those who need more help, job placement organizations may assist in job-matching services.
Bizlink Centre Singapore Limited
Serve Hope
Ministry of Manpower One-Call Centre at 6438 5122
Open Door Fund is a government initiative to provide persons with disabilities equal opportunities to seek employment in the open market. It provides a comprehensive package of incentives to support companies in employing persons with disabilities.
Online Job Portal is an one-stop online job portal connecting persons with disabilities with potential employers.
SPD Employment Support Programme provides job placement and job support services for people with physical disabilities, hearing impairments and visual impairments.

g) Vocational Training

Vocational training institute provide crucial livelihood skills that could help secure employment upon completion. There are different vocations, including infocomm technologies, which a special needs child can learn from various centres in Singapore. See CEL for more information.

SAVH Vocational Training Department
SA Deaf Mountbatten Vocational School
AAS Autism Youth Centre
SCAS Goodwill, Rehabilitation and Occupational Workshop
Down Syndrome Association Adult Enhancement Program
Infocomm Accessibility Centre
SPD Vocational Training Programme

h) Sheltered workshops

Persons with moderate to severe diabilities can improve their chances for future employment by going through vocational training at sheltered workshops. Here, they are taught basic job skills such as packaging and assembly through sub-contract work. They earn an allowance, while gaining valuable work experience at a real company. This in turn gives them a better chance of finding a job in the open market. See CEL for more information.
APSN Centre for Adults
MINDS IDEA Employment Development Centre
MINDS Woodlands Employment Development Centre
SIA MINDS Employment Development Centre
SCAS Goodwill, Rehabilitation and Occupational Workshop
SPD Sheltered Workshop
Society of Moral Charities (Visually Handicapped)

i) Day Activity Centres

Day Activity Centres, offer a form of respite for caregivers during working hours. At the centres, participants are involved in activities that help develop their cognitive, social, communication, language and motor skills. The centres also provide physiotherapy and occupational therapy. See CEL for more information.
AAS Autism Youth Centre
St Andrew's Autism Centre DAC
Bishan Home Day Activity Centre
Blue Cross Thong Kheng Home

Christian Outreach to the Handicapped Emmanuel Activity Centre

METTA DAC for the Intellectually Disabled (Hougang, Woodlands)

Moral Home for the Disabled Adults DAC

Singapore Cheshire Home DAC

SPD-SOKA Day Activity Centre

SCAS Cerebral Palsy Centre

SUN-DAC Centre for the Disabled (Bedok South, Choa Chu Kang)

MINDS Training and Development Centres (Ang Mo Kio, Clementi, MINDSVille @ Napiri)
TOUCH Centre for Independent Living

j) Residential Care

A residental home for adults with disabilities is an institution that provides long-term residential care to persons with disabilities who are either destitute, neglected or whose caregivers are incapable of caring for them. The Home also provides short-term respite care service for families who, for various reasons, are unable to provide the care for their dependants with disabilities for a short period. See CEL for more information.
Bishan Home for the Intellectually Disabled
Blue Cross Thong Kheng Home for the Intellectually Disabled
Chen Su Lan Methodist Children’s Home (Disabled Children’s Wing)
Metta Home
MINDSville Children’s Wing
Moral Welfare Home for the Disabled (Adults)
Moral Welfare Home for the Disabled (Children)
Red Cross Home for the Disabled
Singapore Cheshire Home

k) Community Integration Support Services

CIS enables students with disabilities to cope with demand of mainstream education and adjust to their learning environment, as well as to enable parents and teachers to gain greater awareness of these students’ needs & equip them to manage and meet their learning and social needs.

AWWA TEACH ME Integration Services
SPD Children & Youth Services

k) Caregiver services

Support programmes are designed to help caregivers overcome the emotional, social or daily obstacles faced every day. Providing a wide range of therapy, social assistance, educational, rehabilitation, recreation, social and support services, these integration support programmes enable caregivers and their loved ones to better embrace and integrate with mainstream society. See CEL for more information.

SAVH Communications Department / Social Work Department
Rainbow Centre Parent Training & Education Programme
Rainbow Centre Balestier Special School - Ad Hoc peer/parent support programme
Rainbow Centre Margaret Drive Special School - Ad Hoc peer/parent support programme
Christian Outreach to the Handicapped Family Support Group
Society for the Promotion of ADHD Research and Knowledge

m) Assistive Devices

SPD Specialised Assistive Technology Centre
(these)abilities is a design & technology company building products that level the playing field for Persons with Disabilities be it at home, work, or at play.

Key Projects

It’s About Ability - An explanation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Come Into My World: 31 Stories Of Autism In Singapore is a collection of stories written by Brenda Tan and other contributors, including individuals diagnosed with autism, and siblings of autistic persons. Today Online

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