Singapore University of Social Sciences

Introduction to Special Educational Needs

Introduction to Special Educational Needs (SPE101)


SPE101 Introduction to Special Educational Needs traces the historical development of services for the education of people with special needs. It highlights how the social culture of the day influences perceptions and views of Special Education, and examines the language and terminology used in Special Education as social constructions developed in historical contexts. It explores the dominant perspectives on special education including medical, psychological, administrative and educational. Students also explore the wider social, historical and political perspectives on the policies, practices and processes that make up Special Education in different countries, with an intimate focus on Singapore.

Level: 1
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: EVERY REGULAR SEMESTER


  • Conceptions of Special Educational Needs
  • Identifying Special Educational Needs
  • Policies for Special Educational Needs
  • Disabilities and the Development of Learning
  • Socio-cultural perspectives of Special Educational Needs
  • The Evolution of Special Education as Service Provision
  • Special Needs Across the Lifespan
  • SEN in the Singapore Context
  • Comparative Review of Provisions for Special Educational Needs Across Countries
  • Issues in Special Education
  • Special Education and the caring services
  • Special Education for the future

Learning Outcome

  • Compare the historical and cultural perspectives on Special Educational Needs.
  • Summarise the history of how Special Education evolved.
  • Present some of the models of Special Education service provisions in Singapore.
  • Explain how disabilities may affect developmental processes.
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different provisions made for Special
  • Discuss some major controversies in special education.
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