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Children with learning disorders get subsidised therapy in pilot project

Foundation gets help from social innovation fund to treat those from low-income homes.

SINGAPORE: A group of children from low-income homes who have learning disorders such as autism, dyslexia and attention deficit disorder (ADD) will soon get subsidised therapy, under a new programme to be piloted in the North East district.

The Neu-Life project by the Kampung Senang Charity and Education Foundation is one of four social innovation projects selected for seed funding under the North East Social Innovation Fund. It aims to improve the quality of life for 25 children from low-income families – aged six to 18 – over a six-month period from Oct 1.

Each child will undergo Neurofeedback therapy in which his brain will be trained to regulate itself through brain-cell vibration, helping him to be more focused. The non-invasive method does not involve drugs.

“Children with special needs can get violent at times ... and the public may misunderstand them. Neurofeedback therapy will help train the child’s brain to become brighter and more focused, reducing social problems such as violence,” said Ms Joyce Lye, 62, the foundation’s founder.

“The programme is about improving the quality of life of the child, being self-sustaining and affordable to the general community. Many times, these families do not seek therapy because they cannot afford it,” she added, noting that some single parents from low-income families have to give up their jobs to care for their children.

Ms Lye said therapy for children with learning disorders, which are more popular in Europe and the United States, can be expensive. For example, the therapy programmes at Orchard and Tanglin Road that target expatriates can charge up to S$150 per session.

Under Neu-Life, low-income families can enjoy subsidised rates of S$50 or less per session and the foundation is even prepared to provide free services to families who cannot afford the fees.

“If the child can care for himself and lead his own life, their caregivers can (finally) return to work. We hope to provide more of these programmes in the future,” said Ms Lye.

The Neu-life programme is one of the four innovative projects that have been selected to receive up to S$10,000 each in funding under the North East Social Innovation Fund. It was set up to encourage individuals and social enterprises to develop programmes to help the less privileged within the community.

For more details about Neu-Life, visit the Kampung Senang Charity's website.

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