Dyslexia association offers one-stop centre to assess children's various learning difficulties

A review of data in various countries suggests that about half of all people with dyslexia have other learning difficulties too.
A review of data in various countries suggests that about half of all people with dyslexia have other learning difficulties too.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Parents of children with dyslexia can now go to a one-stop centre to get professional help to assess various learning difficulties, instead of having to be referred to specialists elsewhere.

The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) announced on Monday (Oct 2) the launch of its new Specific Learning Differences Assessment Services, to cater to the growing number of students with multiple learning needs besides dyslexia.

The other learning difficulties that can be assessed at DAS include attention deficit hyperactive disorder; dyscalculia, or difficulty in learning things related to numbers; and dyspraxia, which affects coordination and movement.

Global figures show 4 per cent of each cohort of students - or about 23,000 students here - suffer from dyslexia in a form that is severe enough to warrant intervention. Those with the condition often have trouble spelling, reading or differentiating letters of the alphabet.

A review of data in various countries suggests that about half of all people with dyslexia have other learning difficulties too.

DAS chief executive Lee Siang said: "We noticed an increasing number of students coming through our doors with comorbid issues. This prompted us to expand our assessment services to go beyond diagnosing just for dyslexia."

The association trained up some of its existing psychologists so that they can also identify the other learning difficulties.

The range of assessments will help the charity identify the other conditions that occur alongside dyslexia and allow educators to "maximise the development of each student through an awareness of these (learning) needs and how they impact each other".

The launch of this was announced in commemoration of World Dyslexia Awareness Week, which ends on Sunday.

Various activities will be held this week, as part of an initiative by DAS and other dyslexia organisations here and other countries, to raise awareness on the diverse learning needs of people with dyslexia.

These include awareness talks, and a "tongue twister challenge" on the World Dyslexia Awareness Week 2017 Facebook group page. Participants are encouraged to attempt saying the tongue twisters as a way of showing support for people with dyslexia.

There will also be free public screenings of dyslexia this week at the DAS learning centres here. People who are interested can call the charity at 6444-5700 to make an appointment.

Correction note: This story has been edited to clarify that the free public screenings are for dyslexia only.