Transforming disabilities into abilities


Caregivers play an important role in providing care, support and encouragement. But it takes a special person to go beyond, to create an inclusive and empowering environment for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (PWIDS), and ensure the right support systems are in place for them to thrive.

For Shamini Nambiar, (41), Manager of MINDS Raintree Special Student Care Centre (Raintree SSCC), it was about stepping up with love and compassion, to make a difference for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and special needs.

Raintree SSCC is a before-and-after school student care centre for students aged 7 to 18. It offers a structured educational programme to enhance daily living and community living skills, with fun, engaging activities to foster a joy for life-long learning.

Today, Shamini oversees the day-to-day running and operations of two centres, where she handles operational functions, administrative duties and in-house training needs, while rallying the staff, students and volunteers together to create a supportive and nurturing environment.  

a lady and boy celebrating chinese new year
Shamini, Manager at MINDS Raintree Special Student Care Centre sharing the Chinese New Year festivities with a student.

Foundation in Autism Studies doubled my exposure and understanding of autism and
co-occurring conditions, such as language delays and epilepsy.

Shamini Nambiar
Manager, Raintree Special Student Care Centre
a group of people dressed up for halloween as food and a t rex
Shamini with staff and students dressing up for halloween.

Shamini joined MINDS in October 2018 and leapt at the opportunity to attend the Foundation in Autism Studies (Certificate Level) course, jointly developed by MINDS and Griffith University. The course is a professional development programme with a multi-disciplinary, whole-of-life focus to provide a deeper understanding of autism and provides practical research-based strategies to support learning and development, tailored to individual strengths and needs.

Shamini shared, “While I had a fair bit of experience with autism earlier, Foundation in Autism Studies doubled my exposure and understanding of autism and co-occurring conditions, such as language delays and epilepsy. This provided a good foundation for Raintree SSCC to provide input for the Functional Behaviour Assessment (FBA). This allows us to identify the root cause of the behaviour, and come up with a meaningful behaviour support plan with strategies to address the reasons behind the behaviour.”

Learning at MINDS Raintree Special Student Care Centres (Raintree SSCC)

The skills and knowledge gleaned from the course have proven invaluable at Raintree SSCC. In addition to the Centre’s interactive, thematic-based learning approach, Shamini and her team also developed an ASD Curriculum to reinforce positive behaviours and manage challenging behaviours in a holistic manner.

This curriculum is anchored on four key pillars – Communication, Environment, Giving Information and Supporting Positive Behaviours – aimed at helping students participate as fully as possible in the classroom and beyond. 

For example, students are taught to respect boundaries and personal space, express their non-verbal cues in a constructive way, and make eye contact during interactions with peers and adults.

This enables the well-rounded development of students, while nurturing their interests and talents, and maximising their potential in a highly-visual, experiential environment.


lady helping students punch out dumplings
Shamini teaching a student how to make muruku (an indian snack).

As MINDS celebrates its 60th anniversary, we would like to encourage a deeper understanding of intellectual disability and autism among the community, especially in caregivers.

MINDS provides a holistic environment and inclusive curriculum for Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability, and is committed to advancing the skills and knowledge of our teachers and staff. Learn more about MINDS Schools here.

Find out more about starting a career in Special Education here and career opportunities with MINDS here, and more about our collaboration with Griffith University here. 

Be a friend of our MINDS community! Explore volunteering opportunities or consider donating to our cause.

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NOTICE OF THE 59TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF MINDS: NOTICE is hereby given that the 59th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) will be held by way of electronic means as follows: Date: Saturday , 18 September 2020 Time: 9:30am (Registration starts at 8:30am) Venue: Online via ZOOM MINDS members will be receiving an email on the notice of AGM and are strongly encouraged to register your attendance to facilitate the verification process on the day of the AGM. For enquiries regardingthe AGM, members may email to or call 849607358