From Parents

In 1994, my son Ashok Kumar was diagnosed with “speech delay.” He was then four years old. He went through intensive speech therapy at NUH with little results. I had all ready taken three years of leave, without pay, to spend time with him. However, he was still babbling as a baby would at the age of 5 years old. We were so lost at that time.

In May of 1994, I saw an article in Straits Times about the Genesis School for Special Education (then called the Horizon Center), where Lisa Barron was the principal. I was quite impressed after reading the school report and made an appointment with Lisa. I was even more impressed with what I saw at the school during my visit, and experienced newfound hope for Ashok. It was an ecstatic feeling. Ashok was enrolled immediately at the Horizon Center.

He became such a happy and lively boy, and we could see that he was enjoying every bit of the time spent in the school. In less than one month, Ashok experienced an amazing breakthrough; suddenly he was talking in sentences and was able to initiate small conversations. I was in seventh heaven! He improved tremendously under Lisa and her team’s care.

Although Ashok difficulties sometimes included inappropriate behaviors and even tantrums, Lisa and her team were so capable of handling him with their soft approach and structured methods. I had full faith in them and I learned a lot from watching them.

By mid 1996, Ashok was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) but he had made fantastic improvements in his social/emotional developments and speech. He was also able to cope academically, so I had confidence that he was ready to attend mainstream school. We enrolled him in the Swiss Cottage Primary school with Lisa’ support.

He coped quite well in the school for two years.

However, in the third year Ashok faced “growing up” difficulties. He was not able to handle bullying from other students, and I felt that his teacher was not handling him appropriately. To make matters worse, I was going through a divorce at that time, so that was a burden for Ashok as well. He was no longer able to control himself. I took him out from the school and he was back in the reliable hands of Lisa and teacher Rebecca Bulos, who had by then set up the Genesis School.

Again, Lisa’s special talents worked wonders on him. In just six months, Ashok was back on track. He was re-diagnosed with “Asperger’s Syndrome” at this time. With the psychologist report, he went back to Swiss Cottage and has been able to continue his mainstream education. He recently completed his PSLE with 177 aggregate, which was beyond my expectations. He is moving on to secondary school next year. This is great, great news. The credits go to Lisa and her team. I owe everything to them. Ashok continues going back to Genesis School now and then. He has been performing in their Christmas concerts for a couple of years now. Ashok continues to enjoy Lisa’s guidance and her angelic love. There is no doubt that Lisa is his second mum and I have no qualms about it. I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to Lisa and Rebecca for their valuable assistance and love that they have showered on us. God bless them.


I have a daughter who joined the Genesis School about three years ago. She had initially started her primary school education in a government-aided school, but with the high student/teacher ratio in the local system and the limited support services for children with special learning needs, the teacher was simply unable to give her the attention she required. After three months, my husband and I decided to transfer her out.

We then enrolled her at a local international school where the student/teacher ratio was much smaller. After six years of education there, Claudia resisted when it was time to move on to the secondary level; the academic work had become too difficult, and she could no longer cope in the environment. We were really at a loss as to where Claudia could continue her education. It was recommended that we look at the Genesis School.

Lisa Barron, the principal, was very kind. When she learned of our predicament, she took Claudia in without hesitation, even though space was extremely tight at the small Genesis school facility. With the help, love and patience Claudia received, she soon overcame her inner feelings of inadequacy and frustration. She has been able to grow and progress steadily in her education. We are grateful to Lisa and the teachers who have made this possible for Claudia.

Sometime earlier, this year, my husband and I noticed that our younger son, Joseph, exhibited some traits similar to Claudia’s. After having gone through one child and being more experienced, we quickly took Joseph for a check-up at NUH. Through a series of tests, it was determined that our son fell within the autism spectrum. The doctor quickly prescribed all the necessary help that was available to the children in Singapore. Unfortunately, the queues for these services were very long--with two to three years waiting periods. We were again in a dilemma as to what to do for him in the meantime. We thought of the Genesis School. We approached Lisa to see if the school could accept our son immediately, and she again said yes.

Our son had been at the Genesis school for less than two months when I heard him humming one day. I had never heard my son sing before, and it was a momentous occasion. Another day I noticed he had written down the name of a playmate—a second great achievement--he had his first friend! Thanks to the nurturing environment at Genesis School, our son has also learned to initiate conversations on his own, and speak more spontaneously.

My husband and I are so grateful to the Genesis School for helping our children reach such milestones in their development.

Kogen Ang

When I found out that I was pregnant with twins I was elated. My joy of becoming a mother, however, quickly disappated as I suffered from severe pre-term labour. When my twin biys were born at 25-1/2 weeks gestation, weighing a mere pound and a half each, they faced many tough roads ahead. Two years later, in 2003, the prpospect of leaving New York and moving to Singapore was terrifying as I had no idea what to expect in terms of care and services for Sebastian and Alexander. After a lot of late night research, I found the Genesis School and Lisa Barron. Lisa was terrific. She answered my endless questions and helped to ease my anxiousness. Ultimately I decided to give the school a try. My plan was to give it six months and if at the end of that time I was not happy with the program then I planned to return home to New York and leave ny husband behind to complete his assignment in Singapore. We have now been here for almost two years and we have just applied for permanent residency! We love Singapore and the boys are making progress, albeit slowly. I am thrilled that this opportunity has presented itself for our family and I am so pleased that the boys seem so happy and have such good support systems at the Genesis School and beyond.

Genesis School is about sharing, growing and finding the best individual solution for each and every child. As with everything, nothing is perfect and situations change, but the staff and Lisa Barron are clearly committed and dedicated to each of these children. Genesis is a small place so each parent has an opportunity to become involved; this is one of the things that make this school so special. For all parents that are out there in Singapore that need to make some tough choices in regards to their child, there IS hope; there ARE opportunities out there to help your child grow and develop. Moreover, there is also a place for you as a parent to cope and help others on this most very difficult journey.

Elizabeth Soriano

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