Questions on Admission
As a general guideline, our admission criteria covers the following:
- Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident
- Age: 7-16 years at the time of admission
- A diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or ASD-related disorders and social impairment from autism consultant, psychologist or medical practitioner
- Mild to moderate severity of autism
- Adequate non-verbal cognitive abilities, verbal and literacy skills to access mainstream academic curriculum
- No major behavioural challenges that will disrupt learning in an average class size of 8 to 12 students
Ultimately, the decision on admission to the school rests with school's Admission Review Committee comprising the principal and other appointed educators and medical professionals.
This means that your child has both:
- the cognitive and verbal abilities to do the mainstream academic curriculum,
- the ability to function in a classroom environment and does not have the level of sensory integration/ behavioral/ psychological issues that would impede his/her ability to attend to classroom and individual instruction.
Our assessment criteria is based on the concept of varying levels of inclusion for mainstream education. Pathlight School focuses on children who are cognitively able to access mainstream academics but have difficulties in learning because of their degree of autism. For them to be successful in mainstream they would require significant resources and adjustments to the classroom setting eg. smaller class sizes, support teachers/ aides within the classroom and significantly different teaching strategies (eg. from auditory to predominantly visual) etc.
All children have to meet a suitability assessment for intake into Pathlight. Please note that the school screening assessment does not automatically guarantee the child a place in Pathlight. Admission will still depend on various factors such as:
- fulfilment of stipulated Admission Criteria
- outcome of school screen assessment assessment by Pathlight's psychologists and educators
- review by Admissions & Review Committee
- availability of sufficient physical & teaching resources, class suitability
- overall school capacity
Clients from ARC(S), WeCAN Early Intervention Programme and ARC(S) Outreach Service do get priority. However, chances of your child entering the school will still depend largely on the criteria above.
Children who are expressively non-verbal will not be excluded from Pathlight School as long as they meet the other admission criteria. In particular, children need to have receptive language understanding that allows them to access the mainstream curriculum.
The psychological assessment can be done by any registered psychologist (from KKH, NUH, MOE Educational Psychologist, private practice, etc)
If the assessment was done less than 2 years ago and contains the relevant information required, the child may not have to undergo another assessment by a psychologist.
You can approach the MOE Educational Psychologist or any private psychologist to assess your child for Pathlight School's suitability. When the diagnostic and psychogical assessment reports are ready, send in the complete set of application forms to Pathlight School, together with the necessary reports.
The child can undergo a School Readiness Assessment with any psychologist. In this assessment, it will reflect the child's readiness to learn (anxiety management, self-modulation, motivation etc.), level of functional communication, work habits, cognitive and social skills. Recommendations will be done depending on the outcome of the assessment.
This will largely depend on the availability of suitable places in Pathlight. However, there are other programmes in the ARC that can support an ASD child who is in mainstream to ensure a higher level of success.
A spectrum of services ranging from primary to secondary school and young adults levels is provided at ARC to support ASD children in mainstream schools. For more information, please refer to our website: http://www.autism.org.sg.
Questions on Curriculum
Yes, for children who demonstrate the academic ability (with necessary access arrangements), PSLE or 'O' levels is certainly an option that would be open to the student.
Assessment of a child's learning strengths and needs is part of the admission assessment process into Pathlight School. Primary focus is placed on the student's foundation skills such as work habits, functional communication and ability to self-regulate. In addition, assessment of skills in the non-verbal performance and verbal areas will help determine the type of accommodations that are required to benefit from classroom instruction.
Focus areas - as they refer to the foundation skills of functional communication, self regulation, and work habits - are given top priority in all aspects of individual and classroom instruction. It is our strong belief that curriculum learning only occurs through these foundation skills.
Both parents and the school will be able to evaluate, from the student's regular IEP and school performance reports if the child can and should receive his future education in a mainstream school.
Pathlight's Secondary School follows a Satellite School Model, which is based on the approach of '4 Levels of Integration' – Physical, Social, Academic and Professional. It is a scalable, sustainable 'Best of Both Worlds' education model that is formally endorsed by MOE. It is an inclusion model where our secondary students and teachers attend school at the mainstream satellite partnership schools daily and interact socially with their students during recess and selected school events/classes.
This model provides for purposeful integration and allows our students to apply classroom learning of social skills to the real world. At the same time, it also contributes to building awareness among mainstream communities of people with autism, and towards a more inclusive society.
The four Levels of Integration are:
- Physical Integration
Opportunities to share facilities i.e. classrooms, labs, canteen, common corridors, toilets, indoor sports hall, counselling rooms etc.
- Social Integration
Opportunities to participate in planned school events, joint students' recess with structured and free-flow student activities. For example:
- Daily recess at satellite partnership schools
- Joint festive event celebrations – Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn festival
- Joint school-wide events such as International Friendship Day, National Day and Racial Harmony Day
- Participation in Satellite-specific special events like Speech Day, Founder's Day, fund-raising events, inter-school competitions and sporting events
- Academic Integration
Opportunities to learn together. Students who are ready will join mainstream classes for academic subjects such as Social Studies, Mathematics and Science. The lessons are taught by the mainstream teachers. Pathlight students who are integrated to the mainstream classrooms will be accompanied by a Pathlight staff. The staff is present to provide additional support for learning and behavioural management for students from Pathlight when challenges arise.
- Professional Integration
Mutual exchange of teaching strategies and resources between teaching staff and participation in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs).
Will there be Secondary School curriculum provided in Pathlight?
We offer the same Secondary School curriculum like in mainstream schools, except Mother Tongue. We have Express, Normal Academic and Normal Technical courses leading to GCE N & O level certifications.
Individualisation of the curriculum will occur through the Individual Education Plan (IEP) process, with inputs from the teaching staff and autism consultants. This plan is compiled during the first term in school and builds upon the information gathered during the admissions assessment. The IEP covers all aspects of the curriculum , including both academic and non-academic learning. Parents will be invited to be fully involved in the IEP process.
The delivery of the goals contained in the IEP are carried out by the class teachers in their weekly teaching plans. Family care-givers are also actively encouraged to reinforce the lessons taught including life skills and communication programmes to assist the student in achieving the goals.
Pathlight is an autism-focused school in Singapore, which offers mainstream academic curriculum, together with life readiness skills. It serves primarily children and youths diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
The school applied for blanket exemption for Mother Tongue for our students based on the following grounds:
- Language is not a strength for most students with autism
- School decided to focus on English. We require additional lessons to build students' English language foundation and competency to close gaps so that our students can access the mainstream curriculum as the demands increase.
- In addition, as Pathlight offers a blended approach of mainstream academic curriculum and life readiness skills, BOTH academic and non-academic subjects are core in our curriculum. The non-academic curriculum is to address the triad of impairments in ASD in the areas of social interaction, social communication and rigidity.
- To achieve this, we need space and time during curriculum hours to cover the following areas:
- Daily Living skills (DLS)
- Social Skills
- IT and Design
- Music and Movement
- Leisure Skills
- CCA ( during curriculum time for the primary school )
As Pathlight does not offer Mother Tongue (MT), parents will have to make a special request for the School to register student for (MT) National Examinations such as PSLE and GCE 'O' and 'N' Level exams.
School will assess him/her and will register him/her for the national examinations if he/she is deemed suitable.
Students in the Vocational Track will take functional academics and vocational core and electives. For those who are able, they will be assessed for suitability for nationally certifiable courses and be trained accordingly.
These certifications will involve work exposure and attachments too.
Questions on School
Currently, we are a single session school opening from 7.50am - 1.00pm (Primary 1 Foundation and Primary School), 7.50am - 2.00pm (Secondary School and Vocational track).
Yes. School bus transport is provided.
Pathlight School runs a weekday programme for our Primary 1 Foundarion and Primary School students from 7.50am - 1.00pm , Secondary School and Vocational students from 7.50am - 2.00pm. This is subject to revision by the school.
Classes of children will be grouped according to their assessed needs in both academic and non-academic areas.
Our Academic Track programme offers mainstream curriculum from Primary 1 to Secondary 4/5. Upon graduation with qualifications like 'N' or 'O' Levels, students have the opportunity to be integrated back to the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) such as Junior Colleges, Polytechnics, Arts & Design Schools like LaSalle, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) and Institutes of Technical Education (ITE).
Our Vocational Track programme offers modified academics together with vocational training for students with higher degree of autism. The goal is to help them become independent with good work habits, self management and employable skills. They will be trained in General Vocation and Office Skills, IT & Design, as well as take electives (depending on their interest and strengths in areas such as F&B, Environmental Cleaning, Housekeeping, Print & Production and Farming. Upon graduation, we hope that these students will be able to find open employment or sheltered employment.
Questions on Teachers
The average teacher student ratio is 2:12, but this will vary according to the needs, ability and learning stages of the children.
The teachers selected for the school have all undergone a professionally designed series of assessment tests for aptitude, attitude and abilities. Teachers are expected to have formal qualification in either the mainstream or special education stream. The Autism Resource Centre (S) will undertake the intensive training required of the teachers.
As our philosophy is in providing equal emphasis on both academic and skills needed by the student to be independent in life, (and this Includes preparing them for jobs) our teachers will be equipped to manage the demands of the academic curriculum as well as the other life skills necessary to our students.