Sunday, 15 January 2012

It will be National Budget time soon. Last year, the MCYS was allocated some $1.8b of which about $100m was for disability services. (This figure excludes the spending for buildings which was reported as a lump sum figure for MCYS.)

I am hoping for more allocations for MCYS. It is not uncommon for government department heads to try to spend more money every December to "use up" the year's allocation. This is a waste of money and deprive the needy ministries like MCYS to better service Singaporeans.

No responsible Singaporean wants to see us run budget deficits like the West but we can certainly consider a redistribution of the budget so that the disabled can be better cared for.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

How many autistic people in Singapore?

I don't believe this question has ever been answered in Singapore.  The Prime Minister said at the opening of the new parliament that as we progress and develop, "no one will be left behind".  In this spirit, the MCYS has announced that there will be a number of initiatives such as a new Master Plan for Enabled Living and standardizaion of quality for services in special schools.  I would have thought that in order to plan for services such that "no one will be left behind", we ought to know how many people are in need of help. Specifically in the autism sector, a national survey is long overdue.

Short of such a survey, let me venture an educated guess of how many autistic individuals there might be in Singapore.  The rates of autism in the major developed cities in the world is estimated to be about 1% of live birth. Since we average about 35,000 births per year in Singapore, we estimate that about 350 kids with autism are added every year.  It is generally believed that autism is not recoverable. Also some surveys show that the rates of autism seems to have started climbing some time from 1990.  Putting these numbers together, we may have as many as 7,350 autistic individuals in Singapore.

How many of these are actually receiving services and how many are simply hiding at home? 
I will attempt some estimates in another post.