Our Story
Psychology - A Melodious Career
Melissa Keong
Published on 06/06/24

As a Psychologist at Rainbow Centre, Melissa works with clients with ages ranging from 7 to 18 years old who have moderate to severe Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), multiple disabilities, and/or other neurodevelopmental conditions.


Although initially inclined towards mental health work with adults, Melissa found herself captivated by the impact and fulfilment of working with children when she was working as a special educator serving Special Education (SPED) students with moderate to severe ASD after her undergraduate studies. It was the opportunity working with the SPED students that made her decide to work with them in the long term. Despite initial reluctance to veer from her intended career path, Melissa knew then that it was the right decision to acknowledge the change in aspirations, and made the call to return to working with children with disabilities after completing her graduate studies.

Through exposure to diverse experiences and honest self-reflection, Melissa's journey underscores the importance of staying open to unexpected opportunities and aligning career choices with personal fulfilment.


Melissa had the chance to meet and work with individuals from different backgrounds and with different specialities during her tenure in Social Service. At Rainbow Centre, Melissa works in a multidisciplinary team with other allied professionals and educators. They help to broaden her perspective when conceptualising cases and planning interventions. Similarly, being able to work with caregivers provides her with additional opportunities to apply different strategies across contexts.

Furthermore, working in a supportive and collaborative environment has provided Melissa with multiple opportunities for growth. Both formal and informal interactions with her colleagues contribute to Melissa's continuous learning and development. Moreover, they play a vital role in maintaining her well-being at work, making it a place she always looks forward to returning to.


Melissa’s core work includes providing assessment and intervention services to children with disabilities. She conducts standardised psychological assessments with graduating students to understand their individual profiles and areas of support needed. This helps with facilitating their placements in different post-18 agencies. She also works with the school team to carry out individual and group interventions with students. These sessions typically focus on addressing a range of topics including social skills, emotional regulation and engagement.

Melissa likens the nature of her work to the theorised structure and clearly written notations of music. For example, the use of standardised assessments or manualised interventions necessitate a sufficient degree of structure and clarity. Yet, just as how the same piece of music can be interpreted and conveyed differently by each performer, flexibility and nuance is also key in ensuring that the work is tailored to each students’ needs.

Given the variations in her clients’ presentations, coupled with their varied personal backgrounds and attributes, it is important to tailor their programmes and activities to suit their strengths and needs.


Melissa feels that being open-minded to possibilities is an important quality to possess for anyone looking to work in the social service sector. This could mean having a willingness to learn and being flexible in looking at a situation in different ways. In day-to-day situations, this includes looking at a case with different lenses, or even finding a silver lining in a seemingly difficult situation.

Melissa believes that the best way to know whether to begin a career in social service is by trying – be it through an internship or volunteering. In that respect, she is grateful that her previous supervisor advised her not to jump into furthering her studies without first gaining some ground experience. This proved to be a turning point for her aspirations.

Melissa aspires to further her career as a psychologist in the disability sector, focusing on children with moderate to severe autism and comorbid Intellectual Disabilities (ID). She aims to expand her skill set and develop tailored intervention programmes for this demographic. Her long-term goal involves pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology, specialising in addressing anxiety and trauma in children with moderate to severe developmental needs.

TThe role of a psychologist is one of the many career options in Social Service. To find out more, read about a career in Psychology.

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