All Hands Together: Helping children with different learning needs
Learn about a gentle, effective and empowering way to help your child meet his learning goals...
As a mum, you have a sixth sense when it comes to your kids.
You know something’s up when your two-year-old doesn't interact with others or when your five-year-old refuses to practice writing at school.
You know that even though your little one’s developmental milestones are not set in stone, there are certain red flags that tell you that perhaps he may need a bit of help.
The importance of developmental milestones
There are certain functional skills that most kids can do by a particular age range. These are known as developmental milestones and include skills such as sitting up, crawling, walking and talking.
Paediatricians use these milestones to assess how a little one is developing in relation to expected motor, cognitive, social and language skills.
It is important to note that there can be a big variation in the actual age that developing children reach at different milestones.
However, if a child hasn't reached his various milestones within a reasonable age-limit, then this may hint at certain developmental delays or learning difficulties.
A child who is found to be delayed in any of the developmental areas may be at a disadvantage both in school and in society, especially if an appropriate course of intervention doesn't take place.
One of the ways to assist children with learning difficulties is through All Hands Together (AHT). Their customised home-based support programme is recommended to help children who appear to have a non-mainstream learning style and could do with special attention on a one-on-one basis.
Obelia Lacanilao-Cutiongco, mum of 11-year-old Sandra who has Down Syndrome, shares her family's experience with AHT's programme. (The following has been edited for clarity and brevity):
Before we started with AHT, my daughter wouldn't allow me to tutor her or play with her. With the very interesting materials provided by AHT , Sandra now shows more interest in learning with me.
The programme provides good bonding between parent and child, and makes learning more enjoyable especially Maths.
Sandra now has a better understanding of telling time and addition which I used to have a hard time in teaching her.
I highly recommend AHT to parents who have children with special needs. Most of our children are visual and kinaesthetic learners and the tools used can help them learn by seeing, feeling and experiencing the lessons.
Some facts about child development issues in Singapore
According to a recent article in the online newspaper Today (February 2015), there are currently about 7,000 children aged six and below who have been identified with developmental difficulties.
However, only 2,000 children of preschool-age with mild developmental needs have access to and are benefiting from learning support and therapy.
These figures clearly highlight the fact that there is a large number of kids with developmental issues who do not receive support.
Then there are also those children who need help but do not have access to an early intervention programme.
With this shortage in support for kids with special needs, what other options are available for these children and their families?
According to Dr William Spady, an internationally-recognised education authority, “All students can learn and succeed but not on the same day in the same way.”
This is exactly what All Hands Together (AHT), a customised, home-based, Singaporean programme for kids with learning difficulties, believes in.
To find out more about All Hands Together, please go to the next page...
All Hands Together
Trained special education teacher Yasodha Rajadurai first identified a gap in special needs education in Singapore while she was doing research for her post-graduate studies.
Upon discussing this issue with her friend Gayathri Ramaswami, who is currently completing a diploma in Learning Disorders Management and Child Psychology, All Hands Together was founded by the two as a way of closing this gap in special education services.
The goal was to make education accessible and affordable.
AHT provides educational programmes for children with different learning requirements that are more accessible and affordable than costly centre-based alternatives.
As educators, Gayathri and Yasodha believe that such children can achieve all their learning goals and more with early intervention and parents' direct involvement.
They cater to children:
- in Primary 3 and below;
- who are experiencing learning difficulties;
- who have special needs;
- who are developmentally delayed;
- who appear to have a different non-mainstream learning style; and/or
- need a boost in a particular learning area.
“Every child can learn and will learn”
All Hands Together has a unique and holistic approach to education for kids with different learning requirements.
The AHT team acknowledges that parents are their children's first teachers, as they know their child the best. As such, they partner very closely with families in providing the best learning environment for each child.
They equip parents with methods and materials needed for home practice to enable them to become the team leader in their child's overall learning plan.
A case officer works closely with a family to achieve the agreed goals.
Customised learning programmes
The team at AHT supports each child's unique set of abilities, as they believe that given the right environment and support, every child can and will learn.
The customised monthly lessons plans and handcrafted materials from the AHT programme are carefully created to cater to the child’s specific needs and his or her interests.
This makes learning more meaningful, fun and interactive when compared to the more commercialised 'one size fits all' programmes in the market.
For the best outcome, it is recommended that the activities set out in the lesson plan be conducted at least thrice a week.
All Hands Together does not just work with you, but also with your child’s school-teachers and others who may be supporting your child’s needs such as therapists and specialists.
This guarantees that everyone works together as a team to ensure a child’s common learning goals are achieved.
More important information on the next page.
Early intervention is crucial for helping children with developmental issues. Parents, then, must learn about how children develop and watch out for signs of delay in their children.
When you sign up for an AHT programme for your child, you may expect the following:
- The team at AHT will first conduct an initial assessment of your child's development and needs.
- In the first month, you will receive the lesson pack and materials as well as three visits from a dedicated case officer.
- In the subsequent months, you will continue receiving a new lesson pack and materials every month, along with two more visits from your case officer.
- In the sixth month, a follow-up assessment will be conducted and the goals for your child will be reviewed and revised.
- The programme is run in six-month cycles.
The team at AHT encourages parents to sign up with them for a minimum period of six months for best results. From their experience, most kids start showing improvements after four months.
Continuing with the programme beyond six months will support your child's learning needs more in the crucial early years and beyond.
Parents, if the gentle, holistic and family-empowering approach to learning taken by the AHT team sounds like something you'll be interested in for your child, do contact them today on the details provided below.
They are also offering a FREE evaluation for concerned parents, so make sure to ask them about it when you contact them.
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]
We'd love to hear your opinion about the All Hands Together programme -- please do leave a comment below.