Special needs education

Help those in mainstream schools transit to workplace

The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) is pleased to see more attention being given to those with special needs in our workplaces ("Scheme to help students with special needs find work"; Nov 3).

However, the focus seems to continue to be more on those with moderate to severe special needs.

The group of people with special needs who continue to access mainstream education - the bulk of whom have dyslexia - also need assistance and understanding as they transit to the workplace.

Today, institutes of higher learning and workplaces place strong demand on effective written and oral communication, memorisation and time management skills, as well as the ability to process complex information and think creatively.

One is also expected to self-manage, multitask and work as part of a team. Employers also look for people who are competent in problem-solving, and are proactive, enterprising and able to quickly pick up new skills and utilise IT as a work tool.

It is therefore crucial for special needs students in mainstream education who are going to the Institute of Technical Education, polytechnics, universities or the workplace to be provided with the necessary support to develop the above skills and competencies.

The group of people with special needs who continue to access mainstream education - the bulk of whom have dyslexia - also need assistance and understanding as they transit to the workplace.

Those with special needs from mainstream schools also face additional disadvantages in the workplace as their difficulties may not be immediately obvious.

It is therefore important to encourage openness about difficulties in the workplace.

Employers should also encourage employees to find their strengths, and should consider introducing training for human resource and training personnel, with regard to special needs.

DAS calls upon Singapore to embrace people with all levels of special needs and help them contribute at their highest level to our community.

Lee Siang

Chief Executive

Dyslexia Association of Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2016, with the headline 'Help those in mainstream schools transit to workplace'. Print Edition | Subscribe