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Ms Denise Phua, Member of Parliament, Jalan Besar GRC
Dr Alvin Chang, President of the Singapore Paediatric Society
Dr Chua Mei Chien, President of the College of Paediatrics and Child Health Singapore
Prof Tan Kok Hian, President of the Perinatal Society of Singapore
Distinguished guests
Ladies and Gentlemen


1. A very good afternoon to all. It is my pleasure to join you today at the 11th Singapore Paediatric and Perinatal Annual Congress for this special segment to officially launch the Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Children and Adolescents, led by the College of Paediatrics and Child Health Singapore (CPCHS).

2. I would like to congratulate CPCHS and the co-leads for the CPG Workgroup on achieving this significant milestone of launching the second edition of CPG to guide practice across different professions and sectors locally.

Enhanced support for children and their families

3. We know that the formative years of children are the critical window for their development that can influence later years’ outcomes in different ways. It is therefore important that we support children and their parents well when the children are young and address their health and development needs early to maximise their potential and improve their health and development outcomes.

4. To do this, we convened the Child and Maternal Health and Well-being (CAMH) Taskforce in 2021 to develop a 5-year Strategy and Action Plan that looks at cross-cutting issues and identifies opportunities and focus areas that require multiple agencies to collectively address. We bring different teams from the health, social and education domains together to develop preventive health interventions and improve service integration and delivery, to provide more comprehensive and holistic support to children and their families.

5. One of the focus areas that we have discussed at the Taskforce is how we could better support children with developmental needs such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) across different settings – at our healthcare institutions, in schools, in the community and at home.

Better support through the launch of CPG on ASD

6. ASD is a neuro-developmental condition that often results in the individual having difficulties in social communication and interaction, accompanied by restricted and repetitive behaviours. Globally, there is an increase in the prevalence of ASD and other developmental delays. In Singapore, about 1 in 150 people have autism. Hence, we need to do more to support parents and caregivers of children with ASD.

7. As a working mother myself, I know it is not easy to juggle multiple responsibilities alongside looking after our children. The challenges of caring for children with ASD are even greater. Parents of children with ASD might not know how best to support their children given the massive amount of information on autism available, some of which might not be evidence-based. This might delay diagnosis and hinder early intervention, and in some cases subject the children to unnecessary treatment. Hence, parents would look to our healthcare professionals and educators for needed assistance and guidance.

8. It is therefore timely that CPCHS, in collaboration with representatives from the healthcare, education and social service agencies, has developed a new CPG on ASD in Children and Adolescents to promote best practices among our healthcare professionals, educators and community partners. This will enhance professional support for parents and caregivers of children with ASD. Furthermore, I am glad that CPCHS will also be releasing a simplified or lay version of the guidelines which may serve as a useful toolkit for parents and caregivers. I hope the launch of the CPG will help move the needle in providing better support for children and adolescents with ASD, and lead to better outcomes in the long run.


9. I wish everyone a fruitful symposium.

Thank you.

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