Vietnam, Singapore enhance quality of special education for children with autism spectrum disorder

14:09 | 03/12/2019 Society

The Singapore International Foundation (SIF), in partnership with the Ho Chi Minh City University of Education (HCMUE) and Rainbow Centre Singapore (RCS), launched the Teaching and learning for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) project in Ho Chi Minh City. This capacity-building project aims to enhance the quality of special education for children with ASD in Ho Chi Minh City.

The project is expected to benefit at least 630 special education teachers and practitioners in Ho Chi Minh City. The project is also expected to positively impact present and future cohorts of children with ASD, and their parents and caregivers, from some 16 schools and three hospitals in the city.

Over the next two-and-a-half years, a team of specialist Singapore International Volunteers (SIV), comprising a multidisciplinary group of special education professionals from RCS, will collaborate directly with 230 Vietnamese teachers through the sharing of knowledge, skills and best practices in ASD. Out of this pool of Vietnamese teachers, 30 will be identified as master trainers (MT) and equipped with the skills to train peers in their field. Several MTs will subsequently be selected as advisors to oversee future implementations of the special education training across schools and affiliated institutions in Vietnam, ensuring the sustainability of the programme.

vietnam singapore enhance quality of special education for children with autism spectrum disorder

Trainees will undergo a series of workshops, a symposium, as well as a study visit to Singapore for cross-cultural learning and knowledge exchange. Parents and caregivers of children with ASD will also have the opportunity to join a public sharing session on supporting the developmental needs of their child. At the end of the project, we expect trainees to have improved their skills and knowledge including an increased in-depth understanding of the culture of autism and developing effective strategies for working with children with ASD.

This project in Ho Chi Minh City marks the SIF’s second special education initiative in Vietnam. It follows the success of an earlier project in Hanoi with Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training and National College of Education (NCE) on special education that ran for six years (phase 1: 2010-2012 and phase 2: 2015-2017). The Hanoi project saw a total of 75 special education practitioners developed as master trainers, who in turn cascaded their learnings to some 400 teachers in the field. In 2017, Mrs Lee Hsien Loong, wife of the Singapore Prime Minister, visited the project to observe how the collaboration between SIVs and NCE staff had resulted in significant improvements made to services delivered to children with special needs in Vietnam. Overall, the SIF’s special education projects in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will benefit more than 1,700 practitioners in the Vietnamese special education community by 2022.