Read on to find out more about the different services available.
If you are searching for therapy and intervention services to help persons with disabilities manage their conditions, the following link below might be helpful:
Providing care at home
Foreign Domestic Workers and Foreign Live-in Caregivers
If you want to hire a foreign domestic worker to help provide care at home, the Foreign Domestic Worker Levy Concession (FDWLC) and Grant (FDWG) may help defray the cost. To be eligible for the latter, the helper needs to undergo the relevant training (for information, see below), the cost of which can be defrayed by the Caregiver Training Grant. More information on these grants can be found on our Money Matters page.
An alternative is a live-in caregiver who has received nursing or nursing aide training in his native country. Their main duties involve looking after the well-being of the care recipient, not household chores, and they cost more than a domestic helper.
These live-in caregivers seem to be intended mainly for the elderly with care needs, but they could be worth checking out. The employment process is similar to getting an FDW.
It is good for those looking after and supporting a person with disabilities to acquire the proper technical skills and know-how, and all the more so if the care recipient has high functional or medical needs, or behavioural challenges.
Training providers come in many forms, including disability VWOs, employment agencies, and care agencies. The available courses include care tasks, behaviour/ condition management, intervention techniques to help in the child’s development, as well as stress management for caregivers. Some of these courses are approved for the Caregiver Training Grant which can be used by both family caregivers and FDWs. Below is a list of such courses:
And because FDWs are required to multi-task, you can also check out the article below which has places where they can go to pick up useful skills like infant care, healthy cooking, and simple English and Mandarin:
Home-based care services by VWOs
For adults with severe disabilities who cannot perform self-care activities independently, or exhibit challenging behaviours, their options in terms of centre-based care are limited. They may be able to opt for home personal care services instead.
The government funds VWOs to provide home care services. These involve a staff visiting your home to offer support such as therapy, personal hygiene care, medication reminders, housekeeping and training in daily living skills. The aim is to continue allowing the person with disability to live in the community, instead of in institutions, while providing respite for caregivers.
Caregivers can consider modifying their homes to make it easier – and safer – for a person with disabilities to perform daily activities and move about the house, or to facilitate caregiving.
Common ‘home mod’ include the installing of grab bars in bathrooms and toilets, lowering the height of light switches so wheelchair users can reach them, installing of ramps and widening of doorways. There are also assistive technology devices and software that make it easier for persons with disabilities to do tasks at home. For instance, some devices e.g. lights, electrical appliances can be activated remotely through mobile apps.
For information on home modifications as well as related financial assistance, click on the Assistive Technology page.
Other useful info:
For children and youth (up to 18 years)
Selected mainstream childcare centres offer the Integrated Child Care Programme (ICCP) for children aged 2 to 6 years with mild special needs.
Under this programme, the children can learn and play alongside their typically-developing peers. Intervention and therapy services are not provided, though the mainstream curriculum may be modified to accommodate children with special needs. Speak to a doctor at a polyclinic or a paediatrician for assistance in assessing if the ICCP is suitable for your child and in submitting a referral.
The ICCP fees vary across centres and depend on the programme that your child is enrolled in. Your child may be eligible for childcare centre fee subsidies, such as the Basic Subsidy and means-tested Additional Subsidy.
Places in ICCP may be quite limited. Alternatives for caregivers include other pre-schools that admit children with special needs, including those that are described as ‘inclusive’. Inclusive pre-schools offer lessons that cater to children of varied abilities and are typically conducted by pre-school teachers working alongside early intervention specialists and therapists. Parents are advised to approach the pre-school directly for more information.
For students aged 7 to 18 years with special needs, Special Student Care Centres (SSCCs) offer subsidised before- and after-school care services. The students must be enrolled in mainstream or special education (SPED) schools.
Some centres are sited in SPED schools and cater only to children with special needs; others are sited in the community and admit children with and without special needs. If you wish to enrol your child in an SSCC, you can contact the nearest SSCC, or approach social workers and allied educators at your child’s school, or a medical social worker.
Your child may also be eligible for ComCare Student Care Subsidies. You can check directly with the centre for more information.
As places for SSCC may be quite limited, caregivers could explore alternatives such as similar centres run by private providers.
In some instances, caregivers may be unable to care for their children with disabilities and require short-term or long-term residential care for them. Child Disability Homes (CDHs) offer such care to persons with disabilities aged below 16, but admission into these homes should be considered as a last resort and only when it is in the child’s best interest. To enrol a child with disabilities into a CDH, please approach a social worker from a hospital or voluntary welfare organisation (VWO).
For details on centre locations, their contact numbers and operating hours, click on this list of VWOs that run child disability homes. For details on the number of vacancies in the centre, fees and specifics of their programmes, contact the service provider directly.
For adults (aged 16 and above)
For adults with disabilities, getting a job is a step towards financial security and participation in society. More information can be found on our Training & Employment page.
Adults with mild to moderate disabilities who lack adequate skills for employment in the job market may benefit from sheltered workshops. Clients engage in simple vocational tasks under close supervision, in a dedicated setting. They receive an allowance and gradually gain job skills and experience. Clients typically spend a full day, five days a week, at Sheltered Workshops.
Day Activity Centres (DACs) cater to persons with more severe disabilities, who are unable to work or attend sheltered workshops. They provide care services, therapeutic activities and training in life skills, to maintain the level of functioning of their clients.
DACs run full-day programmes, five days a week. Likewise, transport – for those who need it - and meals are provided. Fees are means-tested.
In addition, a few community-based centres offer the Drop-in Disability Programme (DDP), which features social and therapeutic activities held a few times a week, for a few hours each time. It is suitable for adults who require minimal care support and provides short-term respite for their caregivers. Currently, only centres run by Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities offer the DDP, mainly for persons with intellectual disabilities.
For details on the number of vacancies in the centre, fees and specifics of their programmes, contact the service provider directly.
In Singapore, residential care is intended for people with disabilities who have limited care support from family members:
- Community group homes are designated HDB rental flats retrofitted with disabled-friendly features. Typically, up to four adults share one flat; a VWO runs the homes and provides some support for residents. It is targeted at adults with disabilities who have limited family support but are fully independent and have a job. Currently, only the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) runs such homes, mainly for persons with intellectual disabilities.Applicants may be asked to take part in a trial admission/ training. programme for about a year, so MINDS can assess if they can adapt to the home’s environment
- Those who may need more support can consider adult disability hostels, which offer short-term residential-based training in work and life skills, and aim to help people resume independent living in their own homes or in alternative forms of assisted community living.
- Adult disability homes provide long-term residential care for adults with disabilities who cannot live independently and are neglected or whose caregivers cannot provide support.
Only persons with disabilities who have exhausted all other avenues of community-based services are eligible for placement in such facilities. They typically cater to adults from 16 to 55 years old. Older adults with disabilities may be eligible for senior community homes or nursing homes.
You can find out more details on locations of disability residential facilities, their contact numbers and operating hours, on our service directory. For details on the number of vacancies in the centre, fees and specifics of their programmes, contact the service provider directly.
The Children & Young Persons Act (CYPA) safeguards the welfare, care, protection and rehabilitation of children (below the age of 14) and young persons (14 to below 16 years old). More information on the government’s policy on the welfare and protection of children as well as information on the Child Protective Service helpline and Child Protection Specialist Centres can be found on the Policy on Protection & Welfare of Children page on the MSF website.
The Vulnerable Adults Act (VAA) safeguards Vulnerable Adults (VA) from abuse, neglect, or self-neglect. A VA is defined as “an individual age 18 and older, who because of a physical or mental infirmity, disability or incapacity, is incapable of protecting oneself from harm”. This law complements existing laws, such as the Women's Charter and Mental Capacity Act. More information, including where to go for help, can be found from the below:
Persons with intellectual disabilities, autism and mental health issues are given support when required to give a statement to the police during an investigation. Under the Appropriate Adult Scheme, trained volunteers help the person with disabilities in question communicate more effectively during police interviews so that he does not misunderstand the questions asked and is also not misunderstood by the police.
Mental capacity matters
The Mental Capacity Act addresses the need to make decisions for adults who lack mental capacity to make those decisions for themselves, and provides safeguards to protect persons lacking capacity (Code of Practice Mental Capacity Act (Chapter 177A)).
Under the Act, a person lacks capacity if he is unable to make a specific decision for himself at the required time because of an impairment or disturbance in the mind.
Caregivers of persons who lack mental capacity can apply to be their Court-Appointed Deputy, which gives them the power to make important decisions on behalf of their care recipients. These decisions could be regarding the care recipient’s personal welfare (including health matters) or property and finance matters.
Parents of children in the graduating cohorts of Special Education (SPED) schools can tap the Assisted Deputyship Application Programme (ADAP) to apply to be their child's deputy, so as to be able to continue making legal decisions for the child after he turns 21 (age of majority in Singapore). Parents can contact the school’s social worker for more information.
Once the care recipient has turned 21, i.e. become an adult, the caregiver needs to apply to the Court to seek a court order to be appointed as a deputy. Information on how to apply can be found from the link below: