10 Questions Parents Frequently Ask About Dyslexia

Here are some questions I frequently get from parents of dyslexic kids or who have children they suspect to have dyslexia.

1. Do I need to send my child for an assessment?

It’s always a good idea to send your child for an assessment if you suspect that they have dyslexia.

This will allow you to rule out possibilities and also figure out intervention options.

Research has shown that early intervention is crucial in helping a weak child catch up with his/her peers in terms of reading, spelling, and writing.

2. How much does an assessment cost?

It all depends on your budget and patience. Here are the three most common routes one can take for assessments:

$0 for MOE (Ministry of Education); wait time: 6-12 months.

$750 for DAS (Dyslexia Association of Singapore); wait time: 4-6 weeks.

$1,500 for a private psychologist; wait time: 1-2 weeks.

3. How do I get a Mother Tongue Exemption?

Parents can apply through the form teacher at the general office of your child’s school.

Do note that MOE is more stingy with Mother Tongue exemptions these days and would generally advise parents to put their child in an easier stream (e.g. Foundation Chinese instead of Standard Chinese), instead of giving a full exemption.

4. What’s the difference between a regular tutor and an educational therapist?

Educational Therapists are well-trained, have a teaching certificate specially catered to teaching students with special needs.

They also have the ability to do an informal assessment to figure out the needs of the child so as to plan lessons commensurate with the child’s cognitive ability.

In addition, they know how to employ multi-sensory methods of teaching that will be most beneficial for the dyslexic student.

5. Can dyslexia be cured?

Nope, but it can be managed and kids can live a fulfilling life.

The late Mr Lee Kuan Yew was someone who managed to do very well in life despite having dyslexia.

Living examples include Sir Richard Branson, founder, and owner of the Virgin Group.

6. How do I know if my child has dyslexia?

A psychological test only way to be 100% sure.

Do note that proper psychological testing only starts at 7 years of age.

7. How long would educational therapy take before results are seen?

It usually takes 2 – 3 years of intervention to catch up with peers.

However, progress can be made in 3 – 4 terms (in a motivated child) there can be an improvement in spelling if the child is in lower primary and unable to read at all.

8. Is it genetic?

It is very likely. Based on the following research papers, it most likely is.

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2014.3139

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2597981/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5545717/

9. How do I get a time extension for National exams (i.e. PSLE, ‘O’ Levels, ‘A’ Levels)?

You can apply through the form teacher at the school’s general office, and you are required to submit a psychological report that’s been done within the past 3 years.

10. Why do I need to do another psychological testing for my child? I’ve already done it once some time back?

Because they expire after 3 years and are neither an accurate reflection of the student’s current abilities and are hence no longer valid.

I hope this has been useful. For more information, feel free to email us at the.alternative.edu@gmail.com or SMS/Whatsapp us at +65 8749 2441.

Teaching the ADHD child

Children diagnosed with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often have short attention spans which makes it hard for them to stay still in a traditional classrooms. I’ve had many parents tell me about how they keep receiving phone calls from teachers who complained that their child isn’t paying attention in class and being disruptive.

Having taught many students with ADHD, I have discovered some techniques that work well with these kids.

A great way to incorporate a perennially effective method would be through the use of games. By simply turning questions in an assessment book into a game-like format (as shown in the picture below), I managed to motivate one of my students into completing three times as many questions as before. Having him mindlessly going through assessment books won’t help as his interest wasn’t sustained.

adhd-dyslexia-maths.jpg

One-to-one sessions usually help because attention is given to them and the teacher or tutor is able to modify the task at hand to sustain the interest of the child. When I sense that my student is switching off, I often tend to change what we are doing in order to ensure that he or she remains interested in the activity.

If you’d like to register your child for classes with us, do drop us an email at the.alternative.edu@gmail.com or text us at 8749 2441 and we can sign you up to help your child learn with a difference.