Dyslexia Association of Singapore opens first smart technology-based centre


(From left) DAS president Eric Lee, Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC Seah Kian Peng, Mrs Goh Chok Tong and Chief Executive Officer of DAS Lee Siang at the opening of the Dyslexia Association of Singapore Serangoon Learning Centre.
(From left) DAS president Eric Lee, Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC Seah Kian Peng, Mrs Goh Chok Tong and Chief Executive Officer of DAS Lee Siang at the opening of the Dyslexia Association of Singapore Serangoon Learning Centre.ST PHOTO: LEE JIA WEN
Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC Seah Kian Peng is given a tour at the opening of the Dyslexia Association of Singapore Serangoon Learning Centre.
Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC Seah Kian Peng is given a tour at the opening of the Dyslexia Association of Singapore Serangoon Learning Centre. ST PHOTO: LEE JIA WEN

SINGAPORE- The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) has opened its first centre that will make use of smart technology to enhance learning.

Located at Block 411 in Serangoon Central, the centre has a capacity for 350 students.

It will roll out programmes that make use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies by next year.

One such programme is iStudySmart, which immerses students in different environments to help them in their learning. For example, they will be able to practise their presentation skills by putting on a pair of VR googles and speaking to a virtual audience.

Educational therapists conduct bi-annual curriculum-based assessments of their students through a digitalised progress monitoring system via a web portal.

DAS aims to convert the rest of its 13 learning centres into smart centres within the next five years.

The new Serangoon centre also has modern facilities, such as an audio and video intercom-based entry, and a self-help kiosk where parents will be able to make online applications from December for programmes and classes.

DAS chief executive Lee Siang, speaking at the opening of the centre on Thursday (May 31), said it will help to "alleviate the pressure on the Bishan and Sengkang learning centres that are reaching capacity."

Currently, about 720 dyslexic students are enrolled in the Bishan learning centre and 550 are signed up with the Sengkang centre.

Said Mr Lee: "Due to the increasing awareness of dyslexia, more children are coming forward to be screened, accessed and to receive support."

In the last 15 years, the number of students enrolled in centres run by DAS has gone up 10 times - from 350 in 2003 to over 3500 in 2018.

An estimated 23,000 students from preschools to secondary schools in Singapore have dyslexia severe enough to warrant intervention.

The guest-of-honour, deputy speaker of parliament Seah Kian Peng, who is also MP (Marine Parade GRC), said: "A DAS centre in Serangoon Central would provide much greater accessibility and convenience to our children in the Serangoon area."

At the new centre, fees per term for the main literacy programme range from around $516  to $566  for Singaporeans after a grant from MOE for qualifying students, and from $1,250 to $ 1,370 for permanent residents and non-Singaporeans.

The specialised educational services programme, which includes programmes on speech and drama arts as well as mathematics, costs between $225 and $750 for Singaporeans and between $247.50 and $825 for permanent residents and non-Singaporeans.

Mrs Siti Zakiah, 37, has a son who has been attending the DAS Jurong Point Learning Centre since 2012.

"Going for classes at the DAS learning centre has helped my son become more open and confident," she said.