FAQ | SPD - Singapore


  • General


    Question: Does SPD give financial assistance?

    Answer: SPD offers financial assistance for education to students with physical disabilities studying in mainstream schools or those with parent(s) with physical disabilities, in the form of bursaries. Apart from this, our social workers also help clients to tap on various financial assistance schemes (e.g. for the purchase of mobility aids, assistive devices, taxi subsidy) available in the community. Should clients face financial difficulties in their daily living expenses, they can apply to receive monthly food rations under the Groceries for Charity scheme or School Pocket Money Fund. Clients are also given subsidies to attend our programmes and services, depending on their household income and affordability.


    Question: I know of someone who has disabilities whom I would like to introduce to SPD. What should I do?

    Answer: You can e-mail us at information@spd.org.sg and we will arrange for our professionals to contact you to recommend suitable programmes or services.


    Question: Can SPD find a job for a person with disabilities?

    Answer: SPD's Employment Support Programme offers job placement and job support services. This service is available for people with physical disabilities, hearing impairments or visual impairments. We will conduct interviews with applicants to assess their abilities and match them to a suitable job as much as possible. We also recommend suitable trainings or re-trainings to enhance skills and employability.


    Question: How do the clients qualify to receive subsidies for the programmes?

    Answer: Clients are assessed by our social worker using means testing, which uses household income as a criteria for qualifying for subsidies.





    Question: How are SPD's Board members selected and elected?

    Answer: Our Board of Management is made up of volunteers who give of their time and expertise for the benefit of people with disabilities. They are elected to the Board at the Annual General Meeting and serve for a period of two years before a new Board is elected. All Board members are not paid any remuneration or director’s fees. Nominees are voted by SPD members, and the nomination committee comprises of three SPD members not standing for election.


    Question: What are the roles of the Board members?

    Answer: The Board is to ensure that competent managers are hired to carry out policies, programmes, procedures and activities to fulfill the mission and objectives of SPD. They ensure that resources are allocated in the most optimal manner. They also contribute in terms of ideas and expertise and specific duties. For instance, the Honorary Treasurer and Assistant Honorary Treasurer are entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the financial management of SPD.



    Assistive Technology


    Question: What takes place in an assistive technology (AT) assessment?

    Answer: An AT assessment is done by a team of professional staff comprising occupational therapists and IT specialists specially trained in AT. The team will review the applicant’s ability to perform certain tasks identified as difficult. The following steps may take place:

    • An interview will be held with the applicant to assess current needs and methods of doing the identified task
    • AT professionals will visit the home⁄school⁄workplace to better understand the applicant’s situation
    • Depending on the applicant’s needs, tests will be conducted to assess the applicant’s ability to perform the identified task
    • Some AT devices may be issued to the applicant for trial to assess the suitability. Upon completion of the assessment, the AT professionals will advise the applicant on suitable AT devices, if any
    • The applicant may be given a choice to loan the prescribed AT device for trial
    • Training may be conducted for the applicant for the use of complex AT devices when necessary


    Question: Can anyone buy AT devices without going through an AT assessment?

    Answer: An AT assessment helps to determine what is most beneficial to a user. By having a proper assessment, people with disabilities can understand their needs better, and find that a small adjustment to their environment or computer may be all they need.


    Question: Can anyone buy an AT devices listed on the SPD website?

    Answer: Assessment, evaluation and training relating to AT is conducted at our Specialised ATC. We do not sell AT devices. However, we can help refer you to a few vendors dealing in AT devices from whom you can make a direct purchase.


    Question: Can SPD help people with disabilities to get an AT device they need but cannot afford?

    Answer: Upon verification of your need, we can help you apply to the National Council of Social Service’s Assistive Technology Fund (ATF) which provides financial assistance for the purchase of AT devices for people with disabilities attending mainstream education and employment. More information about the ATF can be obtained at the website www.ncss.gov.sg


    Question: Where can I find support or maintenance services for AT devices in Singapore?

    Answer: Most AT devices are currently imported. Unfortunately, support and maintenance services of these AT devices are not available locally.

    Children & Youth


    Question: How soon is the SPD education grant issued after application?

    Answer: Application for the Education Programme award is open from August of each year till end October of the same year. Successful applicants will receive their awards in the form of a cheque during an awards presentation ceremony held at the beginning of the next academic year. Students pursuing courses in the ITE, Polytechnic or University will receive their awards in two installments corresponding to their two academic semesters. SPD will notify them of the date to collect their 2nd installment. Students enrolling for full–time study in the ITE, Polytechnic, Junior College or University must first submit a copy of their admission acceptance letter.


    Day Activity Centre


    Question: What are the charges for clients at the Day Activity Centre (DAC)?

    Answer: Lunch and tea breaks are provided for clients under the DAC programme. 


    Funding and Donations


    Question: How much does SPD need in order to operate and how are the funds raised?

    Answer: SPD's operating budget is in the region of $10 million. Revenue includes grants from the Government, fees collected from programmes as well as donations through fundraising from corporate partners and the public. 

    Fundraising activities include special events, donation box drive, direct mail appeals, STAR Programme (for regular donors) and partnerships with companies, schools and organisations. Public fundraising is sometimes held in conjunction with our Public Education exercise, where we aim to create awareness of our programmes and services and disability issues.


    Question:  How much funds go to the clients and how are the funds used?

    Answer: Over 80% of the funds raised from the public benefit our client through the various programmes and services encompassing day care, training, employment, rehabilitation, assistive technology, social service and financial assistance.

    Our professional and direct service staff make up close to 80% of our workforce. They include physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, assistive technology specialists, training officers and social workers. The remaining staff provide indirect service such as HR, IT, office admin, finance and fundraising support. By and large, we follow NCSS’ human resource practices and salary guidelines for VWOs.


    Question:  Who decides how SPD’s funds are used and how is it decided?

    Answer: The SPD Board of Management, supported by SPD management will determine how general donations are used. They will deliberate and decide on the optimisation of resources through the annual budget exercise and monthly review of service outcomes and financial performance of SPD. For designated donations, donors will specify how to use the funds.

    The programmes and services offered by SPD are guided by current and projected service needs of the disabled community. Strategic plans, both medium and short term, are drawn up and reviewed periodically to ensure that resources are allocated to fill the service needs and gaps.


    Question: Can I get tax exemption for my donation to SPD?

    Answer: SPD is an approved Institution of a Public Character (IPC) and can issue tax–deductible receipts. Only outright donations that do not provide a material benefit to the donor are tax-deductible. However, as a concession, certain donations made to IPCs on or after 1 May 2006 will be deemed to be pure donations even if there is a benefit given in return for the donation, as long as the benefits have no commercial value. Please refer to IRAS website www.iras.gov.sg for more details on which donations are tax–deductible.



    IT Training


    Question: What is special about SPD’s IT Training Programme?

    Answer: IT training is provided for across disability types, including physical disability, sensory impairments and developmental disabilities. Trainings conducted range from basic to advanced IT courses to suit people of different levels of IT competency.

    The computer labs in SPD are specially equipped with a wide range of assistive technology devices and software for those who may need them to attend classes. Facilities are disabled–friendly with accessibility features to cater to trainees of different disabilities.

    With strong government support, we are able to provide IT courses at affordable rates.


    Question: Can SPD help trainees to find a job after the IT Training?

    Answer: Trainees with a motivation for greater independence and have a desire to seek employment can join SPD's Employment Support Programme. 




    Question: How often are therapy sessions held for clients of the Rehabilitation Centre and how long is each session?

    Answer: Our team of therapists conducts an initial assessment for all clients before commencing therapy in order to determine the appropriate number and duration of sessions.This would normally be between one to two hours. Half–day programmes are also available.


    Question: Are therapy sessions offered on weekends?

    Answer: Our rehabilitation centre is open Mondays to Fridays, 8.00 am to 5.30 pm. Request for therapy outside of these hours may be considered on a case–by–case basis.


    Specialised Case Management Programme (SCMP)


    Question: Do I have to pay for SCMP services?

    Answer: SCMP services are currently free of charge.


    Question: How do I register for SCMP services? Are there criteria to fulfill for admission to SCMP?

    Answer: You can register for SCMP services through referrals from voluntary welfare organisations (VWO), family service centres, nursing homes, hospitals or community organisations. You can also contact us directly via e-mail at information@spd.org.sg. We do not have any admission criteria for SCMP and we welcome anyone with physical disabilities and their caregivers or family members.


    Question: What are the programmes/activities available under SCMP?

    Answer: We provide counselling and organise outings, workshops, seminars, talks and events for our clients and their family members.


    Question: Will you make house calls or do we have to go to a specific centre?

    Answer: Our social workers will make an initial home visit to understand more about your situation and offer services that are suitable to your needs. Subsequently, the mode of contact will be based on the agreement between the assigned social worker and you.


    Question: What is the difference between SCMP and other social services provided by VWOs for people with disabilities?

    Answer: Through the SCMP, we aim to provide early intervention to people with disabilities. We provide social support and services for physically challenged clients and their family members through the coordination and brokering of resources at SPD and the various community services.




    Question:  Are there any special skills or requirements needed for volunteering at SPD?

    Answer: Anyone can volunteer, regardless of age, income level, employment and marital status. We welcome individual or group⁄family volunteers. We try to match volunteers with their preferences, skills and experiences, and where possible, we also help volunteers to develop them. Some roles require specialised knowledge, but many can be carried out with just a little guidance and plenty of enthusiasm.


    Question: How much time are volunteers expected to give?

    Answer: The time volunteers give in service at SPD depends largely on the time they can spare. A typical volunteer spends two or three hours per visit, once or twice a week.


    Question:  How can I help?

    Answer: We have volunteering opportunities to suit different people, depending on skills and interest. Some of these are listed on our website at http://www.spd.org.sg/volunteers/opportunities.html.