In academic Singapore, all parents worry about their children’s academics. We all hope and pray that they are able to adapt to the Singapore system, and hopefully “Ace” it. However, my youngest daughter has been diagnosed with Dyslexia, which just makes all these dreams a bit harder. (You can read more about our learning therapy lessons here).
First off, some of you may be asking, What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a chronic problem with reading. It is a common learning difficulty, affecting a large percentage of those identified as “learning disabled.” Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and processing speed. Co-occurring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language, motor co-ordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organisation, but these are not, by themselves, markers of dyslexia.
According to the National Institutes of Health, up to 15% of the U.S. population has significant difficulty learning to read. People with a learning difference like dyslexia may have trouble with reading, writing, spelling, math, and sometimes, music. Three times as many boys as girls have dyslexia.
Most people think dyslexia is a condition that involves reading from right to left and reversing words and letters. While some people with dyslexia do have these problems, they are not the most common or most important characteristics of dyslexia. Experts say dyslexia has little to do with recognizing the visual form of words; rather, the brains of people with dyslexia are wired differently. This difference makes it difficult to break the letters of written words into the distinct sounds (or phonemes) of their language, a capability called phonological awareness.
We realized that Nadine was suffering from Dyslexia when her speech was delayed, and later on she displayed other symptoms such as reading below her age/grade level
Our experience with the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS)
Our little girl attends classes with DAS and she loves it. Her teacher has been such a blessing, and our girl has excellent rapport with her over there. Even though, she is a naturally quiet girl, her teacher has given us feedback, that she can be quite vocal in class. This always surprises us, as she does not demonstrate much of these traits when she is with us.
We have also been blessed to have Nadine having the same teacher and classmates in DAS since she was 6yo. This ensures a secure learning environment, where she is not afraid to express herself. With coping techniques taught and imparted to her, she is also adapting well to her academic life in Primary school.
Parenting always involves a learning curve, and we are always glad to have professionals by our side to help us along the way. This year the Dyslexia Association of Singapore also organized its inaugural conference to explore practical issues and ideas focusing on support, intervention and assessment for children with SpLD. Entitled “Uniting Ideas in Teaching Excellence (UnITE) Specific Learning Differences (SpLD) 2015 Conference” (quite a mouthful right…), the conference aims to raise the standards of the field through expert sharing on behavioural, literacy and social emotional support; intervention and assessment for children with SpLD and encourage greater professional development.
Taking a day off from work, I sat with fellow concerned parents and other specialists in the field, to discover how I can better help my child. Lectures conduced covered topics such as self esteem issues, social and emotional competencies, the importance of early intervention, and learning through technology.
As I sat with the community of parents and experts, I felt comforted as I realized that I was not alone in this journey. Listening to the exchange of knowledge and the questions posed to the experts, helped me realize that there were other parents with similar anxieties, questions and worries. My paradigms were stretched as I realized that there is a wealth of information available to parents out there, and that my child can benefit so much more, as I begin to understand more about her learning difficulties. I am looking forward to the next conference.
Do click If you are interested in find out more about the Dyslexia Association of Singapore.