Dyslexia group to assess other learning difficulties

A child plays with magnetic letters at the 13th learning centre opened by the Dyslexia Association of Singapore at Teck Whye Lane in Choa Chu Kang on March 2014.
A child plays with magnetic letters at the 13th learning centre opened by the Dyslexia Association of Singapore at Teck Whye Lane in Choa Chu Kang on March 2014. PHOTO: ST FILE

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

Yesterday, the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) announced the launch of 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 (difficulty in learning things related to numbers) and dyspraxia, which affects coordination and movement.

Global figures show that 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 from various countries suggests that about half of those 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 co-morbid issues. This prompted us to expand our assessment services to go beyond diagnosing just for dyslexia."

The charity has trained some of its psychologists to also identify the other learning difficulties.

The range of assessments will help DAS identify 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 the assessment service was announced to commemorate 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 in 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, where 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 for dyslexia at the DAS learning centres here. Call the charity on 6444-5700 to make an appointment.

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

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2017, with the headline 'Dyslexia group to assess other learning difficulties'. Print Edition | Subscribe