There are various kinds of therapy for young children in Singapore. A general misconception is that therapy is only dedicated for children with special needs.
Therapy is actually a series of interventions that aid any typical children to be more proficient in various skills, learning areas and development.
It is difficult especially for young children to achieve a particular skill or articulate their feelings, experiences and emotions. This is due to their lack of vocabularies or self-confidence.
Here is a list of therapy services available in Singapore:
Music therapy is a clinical method of using various musical interventions to help children to be more competent in their vocalization, turn-taking skills and decision-making skills.
Research has shown that music has a positive effect on our body. One of the interventions of Music Therapy is to allow children to be involved in improvisation using different kinds of percussion instruments.
Promotes: Social Interaction, Attention Span
Where: Association for Music Therapy Singapore (AMTS), SGH’s Music and Creative Therapy Unit, Rainbow Centre, AWWA school, St Andrew’s Autism Centre and Saint Clare Special School
Early childhood professionals and theorists have proven that play have various benefits for young children’s learning and development.
Play therapy is very effective as it provides a platform for children to freely express themselves and communicate with each other. It is also useful for play therapists as they will be able to identify hidden problems e.g. cases of child abuse.
Communicating through play allows children to accomplish various goals including becoming emphatic to others, identifying and expressing a wider range of emotions.
Promotes: Social Interaction, Mental/Emotional
Where: KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital Play Centre
Art is another medium that have proven its popularity among young children.
Other than painting, Art Therapy includes clay-modeling, drama, dance, storytelling and music.
Creating art can help children who have trouble communicating express themselves. This is especially beneficial for abused children and troubled teens. Art Therapy is a medium for them to be confident in conveying their complex encounters.
Promotes: Verbal Skills, Mental/Emotional, Attention Span
Settings: KKH, NUH, Art Therapists Association Singapore (ATAS), Therapy Services Network, Very Special Arts Singapore (VSA), Association for People with Special Needs (APSN), Rainbow Centre, Singapore Association for Mental Health
Educational Therapy program is designed in a customized way that makes reading, spelling and learning more effective and fun.
Educational Therapists (EdTs) are well-equipped with the right skills and strategies to aid children with learning difficulties, e.g. using multi-sensory literacy activities.
Educational Therapy can assist children who have specific learning difficulties of Literacy, Numeracy and Phonological Awareness.
Promotes: Learning Skills
Where: Care Corner Educational Therapy Service (ETS), Edunamics, Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS)
Speech & Language Therapy
Communication is vital in one’s daily life. Children need to communicate with family members, peers and teachers in school and other individuals in various social settings.
This therapy is beneficial especially for children with speech delay, articulation/phonological disorders, fluency disorder, swallowing and drooling problems.
One of the typical interventions is for speech therapist to stimulate children’s language development through object/picture communication system, books and games.
Promotes: Verbal Skills, Feeding Skills
Where: Children Therapy Centre, SGH’s Therapy Unit, Child Development Unit (CDU) @ Jurong Medical Centre, Chiltern House, Little Chatterbox Speech and Language Therapy Centre, Kaleidoscope Therapy Centre Pte Ltd, BumbleBee Speech Therapy Centre, Dynamics Therapy Centre for Kids, Edunamics, Therapy Services Network, Brain Train, Learn Different, OzWorks Therapy, Rainbow Centre, Association for People with Special Needs (APSN)
Occupational Therapists are skilled in assessing children’s functional levels in both home and school settings.
Some programs even included sessions of manipulating with sensorial gym equipment to further accelerate young children’s functional development.
Occupational Therapy interventions can be designed to help children to be more competent and independent in their daily activities such as dressing, eating, toileting, scissor control, pasting and writing.
Promotes: Physical Independence, Self-Care Skills, Oral-Motor Control, Sensory-Motor Skills
Where: Children Therapy Centre, Chiltern House, SGH’s Therapy Unit, Child Development Unit (CDU) @ Jurong Medical Centre, Kaleidoscope Therapy Centre Pte Ltd, Edunamics, Therapy Services Network, Brain Train, Learn Different, Singapore Association of Occupational Therapists, Association for People with Special Needs (APSN), Rainbow Centre,
This is the most common therapy among young children.
(Even from birth onwards)
The purpose of physiotherapy is to help children achieve their maximum potential, development and skills through movement. Children love movement and the relaxing therapy sessions will encourage children to learn more about themselves.
Physiotherapists role is to assess, design and conduct stimulation exercises for children to improve their gross motor skills. In cases where they have identified a disability in the child, they are trained to prevent further deformities and minimize the effects of disability.
Promotes: Physical skills
Where: SGH’s Therapy Unit, Child Development Unit (CDU) @ Jurong Medical Centre, Mum & Kids Physiotherapy, Kaleidoscope Therapy Centre Pte Ltd, The Spastic Children’s Association of Singapore, OzWorks Therapy, Rainbow Centre
Remember, it is never too embarrassing or too early to seek help and advice from these various therapists and professionals if you ever notice certain characteristics in your child.