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UnITE SpLD Conference 2017 - Presenters

List of Presenters and Poster Presenters in alphabetical order
Stream 1:
The Seeds of Literacy The earliest indicators of reading ability | Denis Burnham, Marina Kalashnikova
What differences do labels such as "dyslexia" make to teachers, parents and children? | Tim Bunn
Trends in Assessment | MAP Admissions
Assessing & Supporting English-Chinese Bilingual Learners with Dyslexia in Singapore | Priscillia Shen
Stream 2:
Early Intervention
Stream 3: Exam Skills, Maths and Cognitive Skills  
Stream 4: Identification  
Stream 5: Technology and Resources Good Children's Literature Matter: Digital Reading as an Early Intervention Support for Children with Learning Disabilities | Yang Wen-Si

Stream 6: Multilingual Perceptual and Phonological difficulties in multilingual children with dyslexia: evidence from Telugu native speakers | Suvarna Rekha Chinta, Bapi Raju, Bipin Indurkhya
Early assessment and intervention of specific literacy learning difficulties within multilingual contexts | John Everatt
Stream 7: Reading, Writing and Motor Skills  
Stream 8: Visual Strategies Engaging learners with dyslexia through picture books | Tuty Elfira
Neurological and Behavioral Research Validates Imagery-Language Connection to Dyslexia, Weak Reading Comprehension, and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) | Angelica Benson, Andy Russell
Stream 9: Professional Development  



Amutha is COO and co-founded Da Vinci Group Singapore in 2012 and manages the day to day operations of running the company. Prior to this, she founded Amooo’s – an original . in early 2012, which focuses on creating ceramic wares that crystallize beautiful memories in a tangible form for a wide range of audiences. The business was featured in The Business Times Singapore in October 2014. She is frequently commissioned for her artwork and her pieces have found homes both locally and internationally.
Amutha did her Masters in Social Sciences, Psychology by Research with a focus in Clinical Neuropsychology at the National University of Singapore. After which, she joined Egon Zehnder and discovered her passion for pottery. After four years in Egon Zehnder, she married her two interests to form Da Vinci Group.



Ms Anaberta Oehlers-Jaen made a career switch from the Robinson's group of companies as Group Merchandise Controller to join the DAS in 2005 as an Educational Therapist. She holds a Masters Degree in Special Needs from NTU, BA( English Language and Literature) from SIM,  a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education from the London Metropolitan University as well as a Cambridge International Diploma for Teachers and Trainers (Dyslexia), along with Early Childhood Diplomas. She has Fellow status at RETA ( Registrar of Educational Therapists (Asia) and is also a Senior Educational Therapist.


For 4 years, she was the Pre-school Manager of the DAS Pre-school Service actively involved with children at risk of literacy delay. Anaberta who is also actively involved in research has also delivered at conferences in Singapore and Hong Kong. Her recent paper in 2014 was on the Program Evaluation for Specialist tutoring as well as actively, overseeing the development of the Maths Program.


Her background of more than 15 years in the retail service line, has translated her into adopting a high level of professional service for both the students and parents through Specialist support and Assessments.  She hopes to share the same philosophy which she has embraced at the DAS as her personal ethos in helping all children achieve in her current portfolio both in Singapore and the region. 


Andy Russell, M. Ed., Centre Director, Lindamood-Bell Double Bay Learning Centre ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
Mr. Andy Russell has served as the Centre Director in both the Double Bay and Chatswood Lindamood-Bell® Learning Centres in the Sydney area. He is currently the Centre Director for the Double Bay Learning Centre. Andy has also led Lindamood-Bell Seasonal Learning Clinics in Europe (Geneva, Switzerland), Australia (Melbourne, Brisbane, Windsor, and Darwin), and Asia (Tokyo, Singapore), and is working to expand Seasonal Learning Clinic locations to New Zealand (Christchurch) and other areas in the region.

In 2016, Mr. Russell was selected to present Lindamood-Bell Professional Development Workshops to educators and practitioners in Sydney. He is passionate about helping people reach their potential and has worked directly with hundreds of children and their families to help them improve their language and literacy skills.

Andy holds a master’s degree in Special Education from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland. He began his career at Curo Salus in Scotland, an independent school and residential care home for children, where he provided therapeutic intervention. In 2012, Andy joined Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes in Australia and has held many leadership positions including Clinician, Mentor, Consultant, and Associate Centre Director.


Professor Angela Fawcett is a leading international researcher into dyslexia and other development disabilities, encompassing a range of theoretical and applied contributions to this field. Her approach is broad and interdisciplinary ranging from child and cognitive development to educational screening and intervention, as well as development cognitive neuroscience. She is the Vice President of the British Dyslexia Association and also the Former Chair and Director of the Centre for Child Research at the Swansea University, UK.





After PhD and a junior faculty position at Monash U, Australia (1975-1981), then later at the U of NSW (1981-1999), Burnham was one of the first Australians to conduct research on infant speech perception. From the mid-80s he embraced cross-disciplinary research with experimental phoneticians and speech scientists, and in the late 80s added began research across languages). After his appointment as Founding Director of MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development at Western Sydney University in 1999, his research on experiential and inherited influences in speech and language development continued to develop in – infant speech perception; auditory-visual (AV) speech perception; special speech registers, including ,infant-, pet-, foreigner-, computer-, and lover-directed speech; captions for the hearing impaired; tone languages – lexical tone perception, tone perception with cochlear implants, and speech-music interactions; human-machine interaction; speech corpus studies; and the role of infants' perceptual experience and expertise, in literacy development. So too have his collaborations developed – with phoneticians, linguists, engineers, clinicians, computer scientists, music cognition researchers, creative artists, and neuroscientists, with the result of many emergent issues, paradigms, results, and friendships.


Edmen is a Lead Educational Therapist and the Programme Manager of the English Exam Skills Programme. He joined the DAS after completing this degree in Psychology and Linguistics in the University of Western Australia. He has since completed his Post-Graduate Certificate in Specific Learning Differences with London Metropolitan University and his Masters of Arts in Applied Linguistic with the National Institute of Education Singapore. Edmen has a strong interest for research and has presented in the International Dyslexia Association conference in 2015 and the UnITE SpLD conference in 2016. He is also part of the research committee in the DAS. His research interests include reading comprehension, curriculum development, curriculum evaluation and language testing.


Dr. Eleonora Palmieri is the Director of Psychological and Pedagogical Victor Center Macerata ( Italy) involved in dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism. She is a psychologist, pedagogist and Itard Specialist. She works as a researcher at University in Macerata (Italy) concerning Special Pedagogy and disability. She has been involved in international projects as a trainer and she often attends as expert speaker at International Conferences.

She has developed and coordinated partnerships with many experts in different countries, including universities ( Poland, England, Spain, Honk Kong), training organizations, research centre. She is the author of Video Motor Training Itard and Working Method of Champion LIRM ( intensive reading and Speed Motor).



Geetha Shantha Ram is the Director of the MOE-aided DAS Literacy Programme (MAP) and has led curriculum enhancements for the DAS through the Essential Literacy Approach and the current integrated MAP curriculum. Besides MAP, Geetha oversees the Staff Professional Development division and the DAS Research Committee  and is also an advisor in the Register of Educational therapists (Asia) (RETA).  Formerly, the Assistant Director of the DAS Academy, Geetha trained Allied educators, parents and other professionals and continues to present at conferences, most recently at the 2014 International Dyslexia Association Conference.


Geetha has a Masters in English (NUS) and a Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (Distinction) (LMU) while currently pursuing her doctorate. With over 12 years of experience supporting children and adults in the area of dyslexia, Geetha constantly aspires to provide a quality service to dyslexics that searches for and realises their true potential and provides them with a view to appreciate their own unique gifts.



Ho Shuet Lian is a Senior Speech-Language Therapist at DAS. She graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Master of Science degree in Speech and Language Pathology. She completed a Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme from the University of Leeds with Distinction. She is a member of Speech And Language Therapy Singapore (SALTS) and is Allied Health Professions Council registered (AHPC). Her work involves providing speech, language and communication assessment as well as intervention services to children with specific learning differences. Her clinical experience includes working with children between the ages of 5 and 16 years. She provides advice and clinical support to educational therapists and newly qualified speech-language therapists at DAS. She enjoys working with parents to develop children's speech, language and communication skills. She conducts social skills workshops as well as gives talks on speech, language and communication difficulties faced by children with specific learning differences. In 2009, she presented her research findings on "Differentiating Developmental Dyslexia Subtypes in Singapore: A Reading and Spelling Test Battery" at the Updates on Managing Dyslexia conference organized by the Education Division of Tung Wah Group of Hospitals and the University of Hong Kong. In 2010, she presented another research finding at the "Specific Learning Differences" conference organized by DAS on the use of Oral Language Therapy to improve the outcomes for students with dyslexia.


Jamie Smith-Spark is a Senior Lecturer at London South Bank University in the United Kingdom. His doctoral research was on working memory and everyday memory in adults with dyslexia (supervised by Prof. John Fisk, Prof. Rod Nicolson, and Prof. Angela Fawcett) and, since being awarded his PhD in 2000, he has continued his research interest in cognitive function in dyslexia. This research has taken in executive functioning, short-term and working memory, long-term memory, and prospective memory. He is particularly interested in how problems with various types of memory actually affect the day-to-day lives of people with dyslexia and gathering data which can be used as an evidence base on which to argue for appropriate support in educational and workplace settings.


John Everatt is a Professor of Education at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. He received a PhD from the University of Nottingham, UK, and has lectured on education and psychology programmes at universities in New Zealand and the UK. His research focuses primarily on literacy acquisition and developmental learning difficulties. Current work is investigating the relationship between literacy and language by considering how the characteristics of different scripts might lead to variations in learning/acquisition. This research has covered a range of language contexts, including those from multiple language backgrounds.




Lois has worked at DAS since 2005 as a psychologist. She graduated with a Bachelor of Social Sciences (2nd upper honours) from the National University of Singapore and later with a Master of Arts in Applied Psychology from the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University. In addition to her interest in specific learning difficulties, she has developed a specialistion in the assessment of dyslexia and is actively involved in the training and supervision of psychologists at the DAS as well as in enhancing DAS' intervention efforts.




Dr. Marina Kalashnikova, BA (Summa Cum Laude) Linguistics, MA Linguistics University of Texas at El Paso, PhD Psychology Lancaster University. Marina joined the MARCS Institute in 2013 as a postdoctoral fellow and holds the positions of Researcher in Infancy Studies and MARCS BabyLab Leader. Her work focuses mainly on the projects ‘Seeds of Literacy’ and ‘HEARing Cooperative Research Centre’ in which she investigates perceptual and linguistic development in infants and children who are at risk for developing sensory or cognitive impairments. In addition, Marina also conducts research on early lexical acquisition in monolingual and bilingual infants and the effects of bilingual first language acquisition and early second language learning on the development of linguistic skills, and the advantages that such early experience provides for social-cognitive development.


Mary Mountstephen is a U.K. based learning development specialist and an Associate Member of the British Dyslexia Association. She is currently working on a doctorate at The University of Reading. She provides training for early years and primary staff in addressing learning differences.


Muzdalifah is a Senior Educational Therapist and Drama Instructor with the DAS and her students range from primary and secondary school levels. She has obtained a Diploma of Educational Studies - Speech & Drama awarded by The College of Teachers, United Kingdom.Apart from her passion working with children, she has a keen interest in Drama Arts. She started participating and competing in performing arts since her early school years. She believes the Speech and Drama Arts programme will greatly benefit our DAS students in developing their self esteem, confidence level and will transform them into children with irrepressible curiosity for learning as they take on the journey to believe more in themselves. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Special Educational Needs (MA SEN) with the University of South Wales (USW) in UK. She is also a member of Register of Educational Therapists Asia (RETA).


Patricia M. H. NG, M Ed (Special Education), BA (Business & Management), Dip PE, is a part-time lecturer and educator who teaches pre-service and in-service courses, supervises teaching practicum, conducts research and works with children in early childhood and special education. She has a Dean's Commendation for Research Award with her Master in Education (Special Education) degree from National Institute of Education/Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and a Society for Reading and Literacy Research Award. Her published books and papers included topics on literacy difficulties, challenging behaviors, music, robotics and virtual reality. 



Priscillia Shen began her special education journey as an Educational Therapist at DAS and has more than 10 years of experience in the field of special educational needs, especially in dyslexia. Her previous experience working closely with SpLD learners has allowed her to take on a constructive and practical pedagogical approach. She believes in keeping up with current developments in the field to continually refine teaching practices and maintain professional passion. While lecturing at the DAS Academy, she is currently pursuing Doctorate in Education (EdD) at the National Institute of Education (NIE) in Singapore and the Institute of Education (IOE) in UK, London. Her research interests are in dyslexia, Chinese language and Mathematics. She has been co-presenting papers on learning difficulties in Chinese language and Mathematics in relation to dyslexia at conferences since 2012.


Saravanan Manorkorum is CEO and Co-founder of Da Vinci Group Singapore. He has committed to building an enterprise in education to bring about social transformation. Prior to this, Saravanan has been involved in several business initiatives since 2010.
Saravanan did his Bachelor of Science from the National University of Singapore with a focus in Neurobiology. He gained extensive research experience in Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory and A*STAR. His work involved understanding neuronal path finding and neuro-receptor associations. Following his research career, Saravanan moved into the field of business consulting and recruitment management which gave the motivations and inspiration to start Da Vinci Group and to create an access to actualize an individual's potential.


Sharen has been an Educational Therapist for six years and had experience working with students with dyslexia from five to 16 years old. She is a member with the Register Educational Therapists (Asia). She has recently completed her Master of Arts in Special Educational Needs, University of South Wales, UK.



Siti Asjamiah joined the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) as an Educational Therapist in 2012 after spending 10 years in the pre-school industry. She obtained her post-graduate certificate in Special Educational Needs (SEN) with University of Wales in 2014 and is currently a Senior Educational Therapist supporting students with dyslexia in the MOE-Aided English Literacy Programme (MAP). She has also been supporting students in their English Exam Paper 2 since 2013. Beginning as a contributing member of the DAS’ English Exam Skills Programme (EESP) in curriculum and resource development, she is currently a core team member, assisting in programme evaluation, training of DAS dual specialists, as well as conducting TIPS talks for parents and holiday workshops for students.




Dr Tan Wah Pheow is the Section Head of the Diploma in Psychology Studies, School of Humanities & Social Sciences, at Temasek Polytechnic. He received Temasek Polytechnic's Teaching Excellence Award in 2012 in recognition of his contributions to teaching. Wah Pheow obtained a Bachelor of Social Science (Hons) and a Masters in Social Science (Psychology) from the National University of Singapore, and a PhD in Psychology from Iowa State University. Wah Pheow is a cognitive psychologist by training. His research interest is in applying theories of cognitive psychology in areas such as education and human factors. Since 2010, Wah Pheow have collaborated with other local researchers, most notably from DAS and A*STAR, on numerous research studies, which were presented and published in international conferences and peer-reviewed journals. In his free time, Wah Pheow loves to play basketball, engage in street photography and creative writing.


Tim has a BA in Psychology & Philosophy from Oxford University, a PGCE from Redland College, an MSc in Educational Psychology from University College, London and a Doctorate in Educational Research from Warwick University in 2007. He worked as a teacher in primary, secondary and special settings for 9 years, and as an educational psychologist mainly for English Local authorities for 20+ years. He also served as SEN Officer for Northampton for 8 years, administering the area’s statutory SEN procedures. He worked for 3 years in a private dyslexia specialist school (Egerton-Rothesay) as its in-house psychologist, and for a while he led the DAS research team in Singapore. His own doctoral research was on literacy interventions in the middle primary years, and was particularly interested in the roles of teachers and teaching assistants in helping children with literacy difficulties. He is now a Consultant Educational Psychologist for Special Education Services, DAS. While at DAS he has researched in maths and dyscalculia, writing, the overall effectiveness of DAS interventions and is now especially interested in the meaning of social constructs such as Specific Learning Difficulties.


Tuty Elfira is a Senior Educational Therapist and a member of the English Exam Skills Programme at the DAS. She had been actively involved in the DAS Outreach Team to help spread the awareness and understanding of dyslexia among parents and educators. She has pursued a Master's Degree in Special Educational Needs with the University of South Wales. She graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor's Degree (Sociology) and has obtained a Post-Graduate Diploma in Specific Learning Differences. Her research interests include self-efficacy, social-emotional learning and promoting philosophical thinking among children and young adults.


Wong Kah Lai is pre-school programme manager of Dyslexia of Singapore. An enthusiastic and passionate educator with more than twenty years' experience in the field of early childhood education, Kah Lai taught young children, mentored teachers, supported parents and caregivers in a wide range of setting, from within the classroom to community outreach, while juggling her Diploma in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College, and subsequent Bachelor of Education in ECCE from the University of South Australia. She completed her Masters in Teaching English to Young Learners from the University of York through distance learning whilst working full time as head teacher of a bilingual kindergarten in China.


YANG WEN-SI, MEd, B.Sc., has a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education and a Bachelor’s degree in Science. Ms Yang is currently a higher degree research student in National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University. She is a fellow of Register of Educational Therapists Asia (RETA), a fellow of Reading Specialists Association Singapore (RSAS), and a member of International Society on Early Intervention (ISEI). Ms Yang has more than 10 years of practical experience in the field of early childhood and special needs education. She has worked as a Teacher, Curriculum Writer, and Early Interventionist. Ms Yang has received a number of awards including 2015 the Society of Reading and Literacy (SRL) Research Award, 2013 Merit Scholarship Award at Asian-Pacific Society for Computers in Education, and 2012 Bronze Award at the Graduate Student day NIE. In terms of special education, she has written a book chapter of Poetry for Children with Special Learning Needs which published by Pearson 2017, and presented various papers on early intervention and learning disabilities, such as 2015 YWCA Conference Person-Centeredness and Inclusive Early Childhood Education, 2015 Early Childhood Conference and Carnival, and 2016 UnITE SpLD Conference.