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@A Special Door 2018-06-29

We kick-start Term 3 with the theme Days and months . This week, our students make their own The Hungry Caterpillar story booklet. Through the activity, they learn sequencing, counting, reading, spelling, writing, colouring and the discipline to stay on task. Well done, kiddos!

@A Special Door 2018-06-28

At a consultancy review session today, the parent shared that one of her child s therapists feedback that if she couldn t teach echoics the way she planned, she found it difficult to run the session because she s trained in verbal behavior (an application branched out of Applied Behavior Analysis) and couldn t not teach verbal skills. Of course, that is a valid perspective. Yet, there are many other factors to consider where the learning goals of this particular child are concerned. I have, hopefully, clarified my advice with the parent. But this had led me to think. When I first stepped into teaching children in the field of special education, I was rigorously trained in autism as a condition, TEACCH and social stories as teaching methods. These premises and their respective strategies served me well until I started seeing children home-based. Then, I realised the shortcomings because a home is different from a school. I went on to get trained in ABA and thus began my path as a home-based behavior therapist. In the beginning, I used a lot of Discrete Trial Training. It worked as a powerful tool for the little children to start noticing my function in their lives and to build rapport and momentum. It was exhilarating having that attention from kids who were previously out of reach . Slowly though, I realised too, that DTT has its shortcomings. The child was very much aware of his wants and preferences; the personality came through the deficits of the autistic condition. The child no longer found exaggerated cheers, claps and Hi-5s motivating. I read and self-taught Verbal Behavior. The premise is still ABA, but the techniques, approach and emphasis are different. It embarked me on a new teaching journey, but not requiring me to forsake all I have learnt. As it went, I also began to read (and be blessed with experts who shared with me) on sensory processing, DIR/Floortime methods, Relationship Development Intervention and even Montessori method. I began to see how different approaches, methods, techniques can all be effectively integrated to serve a common goal. I was fortunate to have the opportunity and the trust of parents, to support their children in different school settings. I dished out different tools from my growing toolbox to support each unique child in his or her unique situation. To be frank, I had lots of fun in this whole process, precisely because there was never just one key to unlock all these doors of mystery. Too often and too easily, we invested so much time (and possibly money) into one kind of training that we embrace that one kind as if there can never be something as good. Or, our hands in teaching a child are tied if we were asked to deviate from that one method. We want, passionately, to apply what we learnt, what we know. It slips our minds that we are not the ones who need to apply our skills. It s the child who needs to learn the skills to apply so he or she can be understood, can try to understand the world around. Our primary job, therefore, is to focus on what the child needs. To tap on the strengths, to leverage on skills, turning them into daily applications, into independent and meaningful living. On retrospect, I believe I am lucky because I never had just one supervisor or principal, consultant or even mentor to guide me in my 14 years as a special education teacher. I had many teachers - all of them my students. They taught me the most about how to reach out to them, how to make a connection, how to teach. They taught me, as soon as I thought I knew the solution, the question will change. Whatever I read and learnt will always be in my toolbox. But, which tools to use and how to use them is entirely guided by them, their personality, their strengths, where and when they would allow me to intervene. Not just that; the success of my work depends also on the child s living and learning environment. There is so much I can do, also a lot I can t control. Teaching, from this angle, is both an act of optimism and a humbling role. During my last trip to Ubud, I had quiet and deeply reflective conversations with a friend. She likens a child with autism as a child who is surrounded by clouds. We, as educators, try to peel away the clouds to reach them. Some, we manage to reach easier. Some, they are not ready to be reached. She said, I m like a cloud-hopper. That s my gift. I can reach these children. But some times, the clouds are too thick and I have to learn to give it time. Other times, I have to let other cloud-hoppers take over. I remember, when I was a (slightly rebellious) teenager, I once told my Dad I m most definitely not going to be a teacher. Today, he claims he always knew that I d be a teacher. I try to side-step my hard words by saying I m a special needs teacher. Not like the typical teacher that he thought I d be. Haha. But really, I am beginning to appreciate more now, that teaching is not just my job. It is my gift. And as I give, I will continue to learn. And have fun. That s important.

@A Special Door 2018-06-26

Experience sharing. Yes, it s critical. After all, everything we do is so that we can find and/or make a connection with our children. There is no learning, no compliance, no co-operation, no empathy if there never was a connection. Do things together. Stop talking and instructing. Just be together, and do an activity together.

@A Special Door 2018-06-22

Last Sept, I made a promise to return to Ubud to share information and experience on working with children with autism. So glad the promise was kept and executed successfully with the teachers in Yayasan Anak Unik. Memorable moments of our workshop. When the passion, will and experience of teachers join forces, we are unstoppable in impacting the future! Teachers beyond boundaries!

@A Special Door 2018-06-08

We say Byebye to Term 2 with an outing to Bishan Park, including buying snacks from McDonald s. It was a hot and sunny day, but there was no way to negotiate to stay indoors with children who insisted it s a perfect day! , We like the sun! and Only adults think it s too hot. Thankfully, we managed to keep everyone in the shade with snacks and only headed for the playground in the later afternoon.

@A Special Door 2018-05-26

This week, we asked our students to think of the shops they see in their neighbourhood and which shop they would like to have. Our little entrepreneurs opened up shops of their choice. Here, we have a fruit shop, a specialty shop selling only toy dinosaurs, a Pokemon-themed salon and a pet heaven jointly run by 2 sisters. Amazing ideas and effort, children!

@A Special Door 2018-05-25

Noodles for lunch? Fine dining or with fancy plates?

@A Special Door 2018-05-12

A bunch of tulips for our Mummies. Happy Mother s Day!

@A Special Door 2018-05-07

Helping our good OT partner to share this exciting new form of therapeutic art activity. Suitable for kids, youths, adults, elderly. Pop over to Tanglin to find out more!

@A Special Door 2018-05-07

Our new theme is Our neighborhood . And naturally, we go out to really look at what s in the neighborhood of our school. Bakeries, fruit stalls, salons, huts, supermarkets, tailors, clinics, even a pet African grey parrot!

@A Special Door 2018-04-01

We did this for sensory play last week, before the Easter long weekend. It was a little, erm, uncomfortable at first. But, the texture changed as we continued kneading and it became soft and smooth to the touch. Using dish soap meant it actually smelled good too! Quite a cool activity to try at home, on rainy weekends.

@A Special Door 2018-03-09

We just love this simple, concise drawing from 7y.o S. Especially how Mama looks, in her high heels and with her chic handbag... In a most dainty pose, even in the face of a big cockroach glaring at her.

@A Special Door 2018-03-04

On our magic carpet, we let our imagination run with our Lego creations!

@A Special Door 2018-02-26

Having a game of Pop-up Pirate while waiting for parents to pick up, learning to pay attention in group game and turn-taking. Everyone loved the anticipation and excitement, and had a good laugh each time the pirate pops . :)

@A Special Door 2018-02-23

A tree decorated with not just my fingerprints, but also my friends . My artwork is infused with my creativity, and my friendships. :)

@A Special Door 2018-02-15

Here s our students having some fun welcoming the new lunar year in school. Wishing all a prosperous, healthy, smooth-sailing year of the dog! 恭喜 吉祥 如意 安康 快乐!

@A Special Door 2018-02-13

In IPP (school support pathway), we start helping Pri 1 S to compile her own little booklet of good descriptions for use later in composition writing. Harnessing both her love for stories and her strength in drawing. Thanks also, to NLB for having wonderful resources for early independent readers!

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ASD works with children aged 3-8, who are identified with developmental delays in language &/or social-emotional behavior.


A Special Door was founded in Jancy Chua


1:1 Behaviour Therapy Inclusion-Paving (group) Programme School Shadow (behavior) Support

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Ang Mo Kio #01-458, 163 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4, Singapore 560163
Music Lessons & Instruction School, School

Ang Mo Kio Secondary - Parent Support Groups

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180 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8, Singapore 569830

Paely Beauty & Flower School

Block 635, Ang Mo Kio, Ave 6, #01-5113, Singapore 560635

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