Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Young Children
From Very Quiet to Valedictorian
On 12 November 2013, six year-old Jedidiah Siew stood on stage and delivered the valedictory speech at the school graduation ceremony. Among the audience were his parents and teachers who swelled with happiness and pride. And understandably so, for when Jedidiah started school at Rainbow Centre Early Intervention Programme (Yishun Park) last year, he hardly spoke and lacked confidence. He also shied away from making eye contact and interacting with others. Said his father, “We were very happy that he had the courage to go on stage and present to such a large audience.”
The valedictorian has indeed achieved much in his one and a half years in Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Young Children (EIPIC) at Rainbow Centre Early Intervention Programme (Yishun Park). EIPIC Manager Ms Ja’izah Embek proudly informed us, “Jedidiah was one of the two students who gave the valedictory speech during graduation. He read his speech very fluently, without any breaks in his delivery.”
When Jedidiah was three years old, he would utter single words on rare occasions, preferring to use gestures and baby language. By then, he still had not said “Mummy” or “Daddy”, nor did he verbally address his grandmother who took care of him every day while his parents were at work. His parents and grandmother spoke to him often, read stories to him, and tried different ways to encourage him to speak to no avail. They also signed him up for a reading programme which was partially successful – he read, but would not communicate verbally with others. Concerned, his parents brought him for assessment and he was diagnosed with late speech and language.
He was enrolled in EIPIC at Rainbow Centre Early Intervention Programme (Yishun Park) in July 2012, and some months later, the teachers at his childcare centre reported to his parents that he had started to mix around and make friends at the centre. He also appeared happier than before. When asked if he likes school, Jedidiah enthusiastically replied in the affirmative and listed group work, snack-time, and soft play as his favourite activities. Indeed, the album of photos put together by his teacher the past year showed several happy pictures of Jedidiah and his classmates engaged in various activities.
Language and Confidence
Ms Ja’izah shared with us that Jedidiah had done very well in his early intervention class. The group activities in class gave him many opportunities to interact and communicate with others. Initially, his teachers actively prompted and encouraged him. He soon gained confidence and eventually started helping to give instructions to his classmates. This confidence further spurred the development of his language skills. Beyond communicating socially and functionally, Jedidiah also got to use language creatively and imaginatively in class, such as acting in skits.
The confidence Jedidiah gained from speaking up further spurred his language acquisition and accomplishments. By the time he graduated from Rainbow Centre Early Intervention Programme (Yishun Park), he not only spoke and read well, he also composed short stories!
His parents couldn’t be happier. Shared his father, “I was very happy when he started to communicate. From there, we could build up our bonds with him as we could better understand him.” His mother added, “Now that he can express himself well, he is more independent, more confident, more open, and less shy.”
After graduating from Rainbow Centre Early Intervention Programme (Yishun Park), Jedidiah looked forward to attending Primary One. Quiet yet confident and friendly, he expressed that he was happy about going to “the big school” with his cousins. Ms Ja’izah reflected on the school valedictorian, “Jedidiah is a very sweet boy, very teachable. It has been so good seeing his confidence grow to this point where he readily initiates conversations with others.”