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Khwong Zhi Ying 

Ngee Ann Polytechnic Outstanding Achievement Award

Khwong Zhi Ying

School of Humanities & Social Sciences​

Other awards:
AECES Gold Medal & Prize
Diploma with Merit

Call Khwong Zhi Ying a child whisperer. The cheerful Child Psychology & Early Education (CPEE)​ graduate has a natural affinity with children and enjoys being in their company all the time.

“I didn’t notice it at first, but people tell me that I have a way with children,” said Zhi Ying. “During Chinese New Year visitations, my younger cousins would always approach me to play with them.”

It was only after her encounters with a neighbour when she was in secondary school that Zhi Ying discovered her calling to make a difference in lives of children with special needs.

“There was this boy in my neighbourhood who behaved quite differently from other children. He was always in a wheelchair and used to talk to himself, like he was in his own world. I observed that many people were giving him dirty looks. Yet, his parents never gave up on him, and continued to be very patient with him. I saw how he has changed over time,” explained Zhi Ying. “His condition has improved tremendously and he is now happy and more talkative. What his parents did has made a difference in this boy’s life.”

She added: “I also hope to correct the misconceptions that Singaporeans may have about children with special needs.”

That experience resonated with Zhi Ying, which led her to choose the CPEE course in Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), as it offers a special track in early childhood intervention. She hopes to promote inclusion and interaction between children with and those without disabilities.

“I hope that one day, we will see more special needs children in mainstream schools, and that they will be given opportunities to realise their potential in the same environment,” shared Zhi Ying, who is also a member volunteer at Rainbow Centre, a voluntary welfare organisation for children with special needs.

During her six-month internship at the Dyslexia Association Singapore (DAS), Zhi Ying, together with a team of three other CPEE students, developed a resource kit for educational therapists that can be used to teach kindergarten students who show signs of dyslexia.

Called “Move It with the Boggles”, it is the first resource kit of its kind that purposefully weaves movement into lessons to help children develop language skills. The comprehensive kit, which is being used in 15 centres under DAS, includes resources such as flipcharts, worksheets, games and videos.

“We conducted several pilot sessions with the children at DAS and have received positive feedback about the kit. Working with children with special needs has taught me to see the positive side of things and recognise there is beauty in imperfection,” said Zhi Ying.