Dyslexia Association of Singapore opens 13th centre for children with the learning disorder

A chat at a wedding dinner was all it took for to get funds to build another centre to help children with dyslexia, a learning disorder that disadvantages them in school.

Mr Rajesh Malkani, head of Standard Chartered's private banking for South-east and North-east Asia, whipped out his cheque book and donated $300,000 for building and furnishing the new centre at Choa Chu Kang - the 13th by the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS).

At the official launch of the centre by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Monday, Mr Malkani said: "My mother taught me at a young age that it is important to give back to society."

Mr Lee Siang, chief operating officer of the DAS Group, said international figures show that one in 10 people are dyslexic, and four per cent of the population suffer from severe dyslexia.

The 13 centres run by DAS, with funding from the Ministry of Education and from well-wishers, have an enrolment of more than 2,600 children - only 13 per cent of the primary and secondary school cohort with severe dyslexia.

Without early help to overcome their problem with reading, writing and comprehension, many end up in the Institute of Technical Education, or in schools for those who fail their Primary School Leaving Examination, such as Northlight School.

But many of the children from DAS centres are able to do well in mainstream schools.



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