Professional Diploma in Inclusive and Special Education (ONLINE)

The three-level programme embodies an in-depth and research-based approach to the field of Inclusive & Special Needs Education. Research has shown that mental health issues and neurodevelopmental disorders affect about 10% to 15% of the children and adolescents in the world. With this understanding, this programme is grounded with the latest research, evidence-based practices as well as supported by several case studies so that learners are able to appreciate the theories and practice. With this approach, learners will develop critical skills while examining the historical and contemporary issues relating to Inclusive and Special Needs Education policies, teaching methodologies as well as accessibility designs to overcome learning disabilities and disorders.

The experts of this programme bring with them both extensive knowledge and practical skills. This will guide, support and raise learners’ awareness along with deep learning in each module of the programme. This level will serve as a crucial stepping stone for participants to have the knowledge and skills in dealing with daily life issues relating to inclusion.

The Professional Diploma is accredited by the International Association of Therapists. The programme represents practical knowledge, skills, capabilities and competencies that are assessed in academic terms as being equivalent to a three-year undergraduate degree programme. Graduates could gain a maximum of two module exemptions of the Practising Licence Programmes with the renowned professional body International Association of Counselors and Therapists (IACT) based in the United States of America (USA). 

The IACT is a prestigious professional body that admit any member who have fulfilled the rigorous Practising Licence Programmes and requirements to obtain practising membership as a counselor and therapist. Membership with the IACT is a mark of high standard and excellence. Practising members are not only knowledgeable, skilled but are also highly respected as well. They are eligible to set up therapy or special education needs centres globally, and provide intervention and therapy programs from children, adolescents to adults with special education needs.  

Merlion Academy is authorised to supervise and verify candidates’ work seeking to obtain IACT’s practising license and be admitted as a member.

The 12 modules of this course program covering the 3-year period are:

Level 1 Modules

Unit 1: Introduction to Major Theories to Child Development

Unit 2: Developmental Delays in Early Childhood Development

Unit 3: Theoretical Models of Learning & Memory

Unit 4: Meta-cognition - Gateway to Improved Learning Outcomes

Unit 1: The Underlying Idea of Inclusive & Special Education

Unit 2: Disability - Inclusive Developmental Approach

Unit 3: The Practice of Inclusive & Special Education

Unit 4: Disability-Inclusive Development Approach

Unit 1: Fundamentals of Universal Design

Unit 2: Domains of Universal Design

Unit 3: Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Unit 4: Assistive Technology & Formative Assessment in UDL

Unit 1: Theories and Theorists of Intelligence

Unit 2: Introduction to Broad and Narrow Abilities

Unit 3: Mental Potentials of the Mind

Unit 4: The Magnitude of Memory

Level 2 Modules

Unit 1: Pre-screening: Observations and Documentation

Unit 2: Screening as Part of the Assessment Framework

Unit 3: Screening Assessments: Administration, Scoring, and Interpretation

Unit 4: From Response to Intervention (RTI)  & Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS ) to Formal Referral

Unit 1: Introduction to Nosology & Nosography

Unit 2: Disability Categories & Their Subtypes (including twice exceptional)

Unit 3: Range of Learning Disturbances

Unit 4: Range of Behaviour Disturbances

Unit 1: Collaborative Consultation and Its Stakeholders

Unit 2: Case Management: A Service Delivery Model to Support Learners with Disabilities and Special Needs

Unit 3: Collaborative Consultation & Co-teaching for Learners with Disabilities and Special Needs

Unit 4: Development and Function of an Individualised Education Program (IEP)

Unit 1: Treatment in Inclusive and Special Education

Unit 2: Allied Treatment Professionals for Learners with Disabilities and Special Needs

Unit 3: Evidence-based Interventions (EBI) for the Classrooms

Unit 4: Diagnosis, Label, Self-image and Stigma

Level 3 Modules

Unit 1: Assistive Technologies: Level the Playing Field

Unit 2: Assistive Technologies: From Low or No Tech to High Tech

Unit 3: Overcoming Barriers to Assistive Technology in the Classroom

Unit 4: Frameworks for Evaluating Assistive Technology

Unit 1: The Cost of Reading Failure

Unit 2: Cost Realities of Inclusive and Special Education (ISE)

Unit 3: The Economy of False Hope

Unit 4: Progressive Universalism and the Return on Investment (ROI) in Early Intervention

Unit 1: Impacts of a Pandemic for Learners with Disabilities or Special Needs

Unit 2: Relevant Curriculum in Inclusive and Special Education

Unit 3: Is Inclusive Education for Everyone?

Unit 4: The Future of Inclusive and Special Education

Unit 1: The Fundamentals of Educational Research

Unit 2: Qualitative Methods for Research in Inclusive and Special Education

Unit 3: Planning for Observational Research

Unit 4: Mini Observational Research Project


  • Assessment is based on coursework, assignments and essays with no formal examinations
  • Guided learning hours to fulfill: 480 hours per level
  • Credits to attain: 120 credits per level
  • 375 hours work placement in special education and/or therapy center

Entry Requirements:


17 years and above

Minimum qualification

1. General Cambridge Examination (GCE) Advanced Level – (2 passes and a pass in English Language paper at GCE Ordinary Level); or

2. Mature candidate – 21 years old and above with  

     i. a minimum of 2 years of relevant working experience and meeting the English Requirement; or

    ii. GCE Ordinary Level – 3 passes (a pass in English Language paper); or

    iii. GCE Normal Level – 5 passes (a pass in English Language paper) or equivalent.

English requirement

1.  Pearson Test of English (PTE) 51; or
2.  IELTS 5.5 (reading and writing must be at 5.5); or
3.  TOEFL 59 
5.  Equivalent (such as Pearson Versant English Test). 

Course Fees:

(Non-refundable one-time application fee of SGD 95.00 is payable upon application)

Program fee

SGD 2,250.00 per module

Marking fee

SGD 200.00 per module

Payment mode

Stripe / Credit card / Alipay

Refund Terms

90% – more than 28 days before course commencement

50% – less than 28 days before course commencement

10% – less than 3 days before course commencement

  0% – more than 3 days after the course commencement