Dyslexia in Singapore (A basic guide)

1.What is it?

Dyslexia is a neurological deficit in the brain which makes it hard for a person to read and spell accurately.

In Singapore, the effect is compounded because of the education system in our country. There is a large emphasis on being able to read (wordy textbooks, complex problem sums in the Maths exam paper) and write (compositions, synthesis, editing, comprehension in the English exams and an emphasis on correctly spelled written answers in the Science exams).

Those with dyslexia will often be less able to catch up with their peers unless they seek intervention.

2. What to do?

Receiving help through specialised remediation works. Trained Educational Therapists at the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) or at The Alternative Education have proven to help those weak in reading and spelling.

Undergoing training in the Orton-Gillingham method developed specially for children suffering from dyslexia, the results have proven to work. This is why, supported by the Ministry of Education (MOE), the DAS has expanded rapidly in the past 20 years, having 10 centres across the country.

At The Alternative Education, we are able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your child and tailor-made activities, educational games and worksheets for them to make reading and writing a fun and enjoyable experience.

In addition, we cater to any learning style that your child prefers, be it visual, auditory, kinaesthetic or a blend of any of these.

Unlike the DAS with a class size of 4 students to a single teacher, our one-to-one approach helps the student focus and receive the attention he/she needs.

Our approach has proven to work, as evidenced in the Testimonials

3. Benefits of early intervention

When picked up early at the lower primary levels or at kindergarten, intervention has proven to be more successful and effective.

This is because at a younger age, the child is beginning to learn letter-sound associations and using them to spell. After this knowledge has been crystallised, it is harder for older kids to change the way they read and spell.

4. Mother Tongue Exemption

The MOE has clamped down on Mother Tongue Exemptions for reasons known only to them. As such, many dyslexic kids who have been failing Chinese/Malay/Tamil are not granted the exemption. Worried parents are concerned that it might affect their PSLE T-score.

If the kids have been failing their Mother Tongue for years, parents are advised to allow their children to take Foundation Chinese/Malay/Tamil. This is because in the Foundation course, the emphasis is less on reading and writing and more on speaking and listening. This will make it slightly easier for them in light of MOE’s decision.

If you’d like to find out more about Dyslexia and Chinese, you can click on the link here.

5. Where to go?

DAS offers their services once or twice weekly in the afternoons and evenings. They provide 10%, 25%, 50% and up to 100% bursary for families with limited income.

However, their class size at 4 students per class means that your child will be unable to receive the specialised attention he/she needs.

We offer one-to-one sessions at a premium cost because we believe in the quality of our services. If you would like to find out more, please SMS or Whatsapp us at 8749 2441 or email us at the.alternative.edu@gmail.com

6. Who are we?

We are a group of Senior Educational Therapists formerly from the Dyslexia Association of Singapore and have years of experience helping children with dyslexia. In addition, we also see students with ADHD and also those on the ASD spectrum.

7. Contact us

For more information, you can contact us through:

SMS/Whatsapp: 8749 2441

Email: the.alternative.edu@gmail.com

2 Simple Tricks to Make Maths Fun

I have had a Primary 6 and Secondary 2 student separately confide in me and say that they hate Maths. This is perhaps due to hours of rote memorisation and repetitive worksheets they had to endure in school.

However, Mathematics can actually be a pretty fun and engaging subject if taught well. For example, to teach the topic of fractions, I would usually buy a loaf of bread, and after checking if the child has any allergies, I would take some jam and spread it on the bread to illustrate one half.

maths-tuition.jpg

Subsequently, to teach what equivalent fractions represent, I would take the piece of bread with half of it covered in jam, and cut it into half again, turning it into quarters. I will then explain that one half is equal to two quarters and so on.

Also, I have noticed that some kids with and without learning disabilities find it hard to memorise the times tables. Because of this, I’ve decided to use music to help them learn it. In the process, I’ve created some YouTube videos to enhance their learning. You can check out my 7 Times Table set to Adele’s Hello that I’ve created below.

If you’d like to register your child for our one-to-one tutoring sessions, you can drop us an email at the.alternative.edu@gmail.com or text us at 8749 2441 with your child’s details and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Chinese for Dyslexics (A basic guide)

Introduction

For students with dyslexia, learning Chinese can be a struggle. There are several areas one can have difficulty with and they are namely:

  • Having the wrong association of words
  • Having poor retention of learning
  • Having a poor understanding of radical positions
  • Getting confused with visually similar words
  • Adding or omitting strokes in Chinese characters
  • Inverting words or parts of a Chinese character

Strategies in Supporting Learners

Using multi-sensory methods of teaching have proven to work well with dyslexic students. Writing on sand or moulding Chinese characters in clay can help a student retain the information better.

In addition, to help with word recognition, explaining how words are formed using Semantic Radical Cards the Dyslexia Association of Singapore has developed can also help.

Finally, getting students to form pictorial associations with individual Chinese characters also help retain the shape of each word better. Below are 2 examples of how this can be used:

Conclusion

Of course, there are many more ways one can help a student with dyslexia learn Chinese more efficiently and effectively. The methods mentioned above are but a fraction of a multitude of ways a trained Chinese tutor in helping students with dyslexia can help.

If you are interested in hiring an experienced MOE and DAS-trained Chinese Educational Therapist for your child, please text us at 8749 2441 or email us at the.alternative.edu@gmail.com for more information.