DAS plans special school to cater to dyslexic kids.
SINGAPORE – The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) is looking into setting up a special school to cater to the needs of children with severe learning disability.
Dyslexia is a learning disability in which children have difficulty reading, writing, spelling and express their thoughts clearly. A formal psychological assessment is conducted to diagnose dyslexia. Hope is not lost as dyslexic children can overcome their learning difficulties with specialized lessons and training.
According to The Straits Times, DAS President, Jimmy Daruwalla, highlighted the need whilst speaking at the official opening of DAS 10th learning center located at Compassvale Road. He added that DAS is conducting surveys to gain an understanding on parents’ preferences towards setting up such a school. The guest of honor for the opening of the learning center was Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister for State for Trade and Industry and Mayor of North East District.
Chief operating officer Lee Siang elaborated that staff from DAS has visited such schools in the United States and Britain to gain an insight on running the schools. The survey results, findings and recommendation will be sent to the Ministry of Education for consideration upon completion.
Dyslexia ranges from mild to severe. Many dyslexic children can integrate and do well in mainstream schools, taking supplementary classes at dyslexia learning centers. Those with severe dyslexia would benefit from a specialized environment in a proposed special school that would help them achieve their maximum potential.
Primary 1 pupil, Charlene Tan, 7, attends classes in a mainstream school like any other peers of her age, except that she was diagnosed with dyslexia in Kindergarten 1. She attends supplementary classes at a DAS learning center for one hour each time, twice a week. At the center, speech and language therapists work together in teams to teach children like Charlene. Lessons involving phonological awareness, writing strategies and comprehension skills helps them to grasp the English language better.
In Singapore, about 23,000 children between ages 5 – 17 are diagnosed with dyslexia. There has been a 30 percent increase between July 2009 and July 2011 in the number of students enrolled at DAS 10 learning centers. The program currently have an enrollment of about 1,800 students.
It is crucial that dyslexia be diagnosed at an early age so that a child’s learning needs can be identified and tailored best to suit growing and development. http://www.dyslexia.com/library.htm contains information and various resources to help parents learn more about dyslexia and the methods of overcoming it.
How would you, as parents, encourage and support your child if diagnosed with dyslexia?