We refer to Ms Jane Tan Su-Ming's letter, "Review default mother tongue exemption grade in PSLE score for dyslexic pupils" (Aug 20).
Every year, the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) conducts an average of close to 1,000 assessments in the area of specific learning differences, including dyslexia.
From our assessments, we know that students with dyslexia need more time than their typically developing peers to read and understand text to minimise errors in their work. Being a language-based learning difficulty, dyslexia may affect their ability to learn more than one language.
For some students, the impact of dyslexia on their learning can be extensive. Therefore, based on their individually assessed needs, exemption from mother tongue language (MTL) may be considered to allow them time to better cope with their overall academic demands.
At the same time, we wish to recognise the efforts of the majority of students who do take the MTL under the new PSLE scoring system.
In doing so, they will not only be able to better appreciate their cultural heritage, but also be better equipped to connect with communities around the world.
In acknowledging their difficulties and to support more students with dyslexia to continue learning their MTL, the DAS currently has a Chinese language programme to foster interest and increase learning efficiency through thematic-based learning.
It would be encouraging if those working with students with special educational needs consider more ways to recognise and support their students' efforts as they strive to do well in school.
Fong Pei Yi
Assistant Director, SpLD Assessment Services,
Dyslexia Association of Singapore