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Evaluation of DAS Programmes

MOE-aided DAS Literacy Programme - MAP
Dr Adam Oei, Lois Lim and Geetha Shantha Ram

The Dyslexia Association of Singapore’s (DAS) mission is to help dyslexics achieve. DAS has adopted the Professional Practice Guidelines (PPG) definition of dyslexia which recognises it to be a specific learning difficulty of language learning and cognition that primarily affects accurate and fluent word reading and spelling skills with associated difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and processing speed (Ministry of Education, 2011). All MOE-Aided DAS Literacy Programme (MAP) students require a diagnosis of dyslexia by a registered psychologist to receive help at the DAS.

MOE-aided DAS Literacy Programme Admissions: The Admission Process
Geetha Shantha Ram and Lois Lim

The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) receives referrals directly from parents or the Ministry of Education (MOE), Singapore. For parent referrals, parents are required to complete a referral form and attach relevant documents such as psychological reports for processing. For MOE referrals, only a psychological report and cover letter addressed to DAS is necessary.

All referrals to DAS are sent to the MOE-aided DAS Literacy Programme (MAP) Admissions department. It ensures that all necessary documentation is present before making a decision about placement.

The admissions process is overseen by an Admissions panel of MAP specialist and educational psychologists. The Admissions panel of MAP would determine if the student has met the admissions criteria. Each referral would be looked at by at least two members of the MAP Admissions panel.

MOE-aided DAS Literacy Programme: Curriculum
Geetha Shantha Ram and Serena Tan Abdullah

The MAP curriculum offers individualised lessons taught in accordance to the Orton-Gillingham principles (Ritchey & Goeke, 2006; Rose & Zirkel, 2007) and modified in view of institutional and funding limitations. According to the PPG (2011, p.37) and the National Reading Panel, an appropriate literacy programme should include the following components: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Further, the Rose Report too elaborates on what constitutes an appropriate literacy programme. The MAP curriculum therefore follows Singaporean, US and UK guidelines for good practice.

MOE-aided DAS Literacy Programme: Quality Assurance
Geetha Shantha Ram and Sujatha Nair

"'The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers' is an obvious truth, which applies to the assessment and teaching of learners of any age who are dyslexic." (Rose, 2009, p.15) and DAS recognises that "[i]t is important to develop high quality interventions for children with literacy and dyslexic difficulties and to implement them thoroughly. This will require well trained, knowledgeable teachers and support staff." (Rose, 2009, p.1)

Specialised Educational Services - Chinese Programme
Kong Yun Rui

The aim of the programme is to help students with dyslexia become independent, inquisitive learners in the Chinese language.

There are many difficulties a child with dyslexia can face when learning Chinese such as being confused with characters that look similar like犬 ‘dog’ and 太 ‘more’, characters that sound alike such as 身 ‘body’ and 生‘ grow’ and characters that are related in meaning such as 校 with 学 where the two put together is the word school (学校).

Chinese is a pictorial and symbolic language with meanings and sounds represented by strokes and strokes patterns. As such, in carrying out remediation, it is vital that students are brought to greater awareness of the orthographical structures and position of radicals within the characters. It is also necessary to help them understand how each component relates to the meaning and pronunciation of the word.


Specialised Educational Services - Preschool Early Intervention
Wong Kah Lai

The aim of the programme is to help preschoolers who are potentially at risk of dyslexia, or has a developmental delay in early literacy, develop skills and strategies to become confident achievers when they enter primary school.

There is now considerable evidence from research world-wide, that early intervention is the most effective approach to help children with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. Torgesen, (2001, 2014) has shown that 8 year old children need 67.5 hours of individual intervention to bring them to the level of their peers once they have fallen behind. However, evidence from studies with young children aged 4 and 5 in the UK have shown lasting benefits for early support (Fawcett et al., 2014, Nicolson et al., 1999). Moreover studies from Singapore (See & Poay, 2014) have shown that it is possible to identify pre-school children at risk of failure.

Specialised Educational Services - Essential Maths Programme
Dr Tim Bunn, Yeo Rebecca, Siti Aishah Bte Shukri and Aishah Abdullah

SES Essential Maths Programme helps to bridge the gap between your child's ability and the mainstream syllabus by addressing areas they are weaker in. This is done through a C-R-A (Concrete-Representational-Abstract) approach. Every stage of learning ensures that the child links mathematical ideas in a progressive and cumulative way. The methodology applied constantly keeps in touch with the mainstream school math syllabus, with the aim of bridging the gap between the student's ability and mainstream syllabus.

Students with dyslexia have specific areas of difficulty that can affect their maths performance: poor short term memory, poor working memory, poor sequencing, reversals, difficulty with reading word problems and poor comprehension and vocabulary stemming from low language ability. In mathematics, these difficulties can impede their ability to understand concepts, compute and apply what they have learned to word problems.

Specialised Educational Services - Specialist Tutoring
Anaberta Oehlers-Jaen

Specialised Educational Services (SES) has a team of specialist tutors who have extensive experience in supporting students with specific learning differences and other learning needs.

Specialist Tutoring is tailored based on the profile of the child obtained from our multi-disciplinary team of educational psychologists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapist, and in consultation with parents and educators.

Building upon the recognised experience, competence and expertise of the DAS in providing high quality specialist services over the last 22 years. DAS International offered the full range of Multi-Professional Services comprising Psychological Assessments, Speech and Language Assessments and therapy, Occupational therapy and Assessments and including Specialist Tutoring both in Singapore and Overseas.

Specialised Educational Services - English Exam Skills Programme
Shifa Binte Shekh Nahji and Edmen Leong

The aim of the programme is to provide students with direct support to better equip them with the knowledge, skills, strategies and attitudes to cope with the demands of the English language syllabus in school.

A vast majority of students receiving phonics-based remediation at the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) are studying in Ministry of Education (MOE) schools. While it is very important that our students get continuous help with their development of literacy skills through the phonics-based instruction known as
MOE-aided DAS Literacy Programme (MAP), there is a need to address the examination demands of our students. Bearing in mind the reading difficulties our students encounter, as well as the syllabus these students are required to grasp in their primary school, we have decided to develop the English Exam Skills Programme (EESP) to support primary students with dyslexia in their English Language examinations.

Specialised Educational Services - Speech and Drama Arts
Pushpaa Arumugam

The aim of the programme is to develop literacy, communication and presentation skills and boost the self-esteem of learners with dyslexia. Drama can be that powerful tool to help increase the self-esteem and confidence of students with learning differences.

The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) recognise Speech and Drama Arts as an effective means of developing our students’ talents and self-confidence, which in turn can lead to a more positive self-concept for our students. Our goal is to provide an outlet specifically for DAS students to express their inner feelings and emotions and to demonstrate their talents in a fun and artistic way.

Specialised Educational Services - Speech and Language Therapy
Shuet Lian Ho

Children start to learn language from the day they are born. As they grow and develop, their speech and language skills become increasingly complex. Children with speech and/or language difficulties will find it difficult to express and make others understand what they want to communicate.

Children with dyslexia and other specific learning differences often have associated speech and language difficulties. These include delayed speech and language development, inaccurate articulation and poor language skills. The child may be intelligent but have a speech and language problem. This will slow down his learning and can be very frustrating for the child and his parents

The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) recognises the importance of Speech and Language therapy for the diagnosis and intervention of specific learning differences in the Singapore mainstream school population. Currently, DAS has five Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) of which two are senior therapists. They work across seven learning centres to serve a percentage of the student population who are diagnosed with dyslexia and attending DAS classes across Singapore.