5 Great Tips to Help a Dyslexic Kid

Here are 5 tips I’ve rounded up to help your dyslexic child learn better.

1. Easy-to-read Font

Open Dyslexic is a new open source font created to help increase readability for users with dyslexia. You can download it and try printing worksheets for your child. Older students may be used to traditional fonts, so it is advised you use this with discretion. It is free and can be used with both Mac, Windows, and for phones, tablets, and computers.

open-dyslexic

https://opendyslexic.org/

2. Text to speech Reader

You can drag and drop files into Natural Readers web application and immediately listen to the text. It can be converted to audio files you can download so that you can listen to it anywhere. It also offers 57 different voices and works with a variety of file formats (PDF, Word, TXT, RTF, EPUP).

dyslexia-software.png

https://www.naturalreaders.com/

3. Request for Extra Time in School Exams

Now known as “access arrangements”, you can request for extra time for examinations for your child via the form teacher. However, this has to be carefully considered. Some kids might feel like they are “different” from the rest or might be made fun of by his/her classmates as they either stay back after the exam ends or are placed in a different room. However, this can be very useful if your child reads very slowly.

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4. Online dyslexia test

Do you suspect your child has dyslexia but are not willing to pay $1,000 for as assessment just yet? You can try this free online assessment tool that uses made-up words to test the phonological awareness of your child.

dyslexia-test.png

Basically, the word flashes on the screen, and your child reads the word. You then click on the button to read the word for you and then click “Correct” if it matches what your child read, and “Incorrect” if it doesn’t.

This is much better than the other assessment tools I found online that uses parents’ observations of their child’s ability as that is more subjective.

5. Online Phoneme Game

Phoneme Pop is a great online game that also has a mobile friendly version to help young children who are unfamiliar with their phonemes to practice it in a non-threatening environment.

dyslexia-game

That’s the end of the 5 good tips to help a dyslexic kid. If you’d like to engage a tutor for your dyslexic kid, do email us at the.alternative.edu@gmail.com or text/Whatsapp us at 8749 2441 for more details. You can also find out more about us here.

Powerlifting: Overcoming ADHD

Over the weekend, I attended a talk organised by the Society for the Promotion of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Research & Knowledge (SPARK) and got to hear an inspiring account of 19-year-old Ezra Tan and how he triumphed over ADHD.

In school, his ADHD caused him much trouble and due to his short-term memory, he would frequently forget to complete his homework. As a result, he would be punished by standing outside the classroom. A caring form teacher eventually decided to buy him a notebook and ensured that he would write every homework item assigned to him by checking with his various subject teachers. For this, Ezra is still very grateful to him.

In addition, because of the side effects of taking the medication, Ritalin, he would often be very tired in class. This made learning in the classroom ineffective and he didn’t manage to do well in his O Levels.

However, upon signing up and doing a course with Kaplan he decided that change was in order.

He realised that he was not able to study for 2 hours straight, instead he would set himself up for a 10 minute study session and then would take a 10 minute break.

After this proved to be effective, he reduced the break time to 8 minutes, and subsequently 5 minutes.

Eventually, he was able to complete a 20 minute study session with only a 5 minute break. This he did repeatedly.

Also, it was with his discovery of powerlifting that helped him better cope with his ADHD.

After being introduced to the sport by his friend Melissa, he soon developed better discipline as he needed to complete a set number of sets of reps per session, and also had improved concentration as he needed to focus his full attention to the task at hand.

Eventually, with much hard work, he was placed 1st in the Singapore Powerlifting Invitationals 2016. Because of this, his confidence and self-esteem was boosted because for once, he felt like he could achieve something instead of always placed being at the bottom of his class for doing poorly academically.

During the Q&A he also shared that because of his ADHD, his tutors would often quit after the first or second session.

It was only after finding an understanding tutor that he was able to continue for a longer period of time.

If your child has ADHD and you are looking for an experienced tutor for English and Maths at the primary level and English, Maths and Science at the secondary level, feel free to call us at 8749 2441 or email the.alternative.edu@gmail.com to for more details.

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