Deborah Tan and Hina Dadabhoy, DAS psychologists, share with FACETS what they enjoy most about working at DAS
I enjoy working at DAS because….
Deborah: It allows me to develop my expertise in assessing bilingual children, which is especially important in today’s highly globalised society. I also see the DAS vision of helping dyslexic people achieve, being in line with my personal goal of helping others.
Hina: I am able to work within a specialised and knowledgeable multidisciplinary team. The opportunity to work alongside speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, as well as consulting educational psychologists is an incredible learning opportunity. Further, being part of such a diverse team enables me to draw on their expert knowledge for consultation on relevant cases, as and when needed.
I specialise in the psycho-educational assessment of children because….
Deborah: I see education as being a major aspect of a child’s life that greatly impacts their future. If we are able to identify their difficulties and support them early, it will stand them in good stead later in life.
Hina: It allows a direct opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life. Learning difficulties can make accessing education a challenge, and being able to help identify difficulties, as well as, offer support to parents and their children is greatly rewarding.
Learning difficulties can make accessing education a challenge, and being able to help identify difficulties, as well as, offer support to parents and their children is greatly rewarding.
A typical day for you starts …
Deborah and Hina: Our day starts at 8:30am at our respective assessment centres. If we have an assessment, we prepare ourselves by thoroughly re-reading the case history, and preparing some further background questions.
We usually have 2 cases a week, so that we are able to spend a good amount of time on each case. For a full assessment, we work with the child for about three to four hours in a morning session. A few days later, we usually meet with the parents again to discuss the results, as well as possible diagnoses and appropriate recommendations. When we are not assessing children, we spend most of our time working on reports, as well as professional development and research.
I have come across all types of cases…
Hina: And every child I have assessed is different. This diversity is what makes my job so interesting, and always keeps me on my toes!
Deborah: And sometimes there is just no simple answer to everything. Some children present with difficulties in multiple areas that it is difficult to clearly identify the actual cause of their problems. Whilst this can be quite frustrating for parents and professionals alike, it is always useful to view a diagnosis not as a label for the child but as a signpost to getting the right help.
I love children who are…
Deborah: Eager to learn and are never defeated by their failures. It is heartening to see them try their best and sometimes you may be surprised by what they can achieve with just simple encouragement.
Hina: Inquisitive. Working with children who are very engaged, makes the assessment a more enjoyable experience.
Things that put a smile on my face…
Hina: When parents sincerely thank you for helping them and their child. There is no feeling as rewarding as knowing that you have made a positive difference to a family.
Deborah: Hearing about a child’s progress and improvement after receiving intervention, from grateful and hopeful parents, months after assessing the child. Knowing that what you do is meaningful and makes an impact on someone else’s life keeps me going in my job.
It breaks my heart when…
Hina: Parents are in denial. In some cases, parents may, quite naturally, struggle to come to terms with their child’s diagnosis, and this in turn leads them to delay accessing support or intervention. We try to deliver diagnoses in the most empathetic way whilst emphasising the need for support, in order to try and work towards a goal that is in the child’s best interests.
Deborah: Children who are most in need of help are deprived of it due to financial or family issues. This is where I see the DAS playing an important role in offering less privileged children a fighting chance to excel in their academics, through our financial assistance schemes.
Our advice for parents…
Deborah and Hina: To seek intervention as early as possible. Research indicates that the earlier a child receives intervention, the greater progress they are likely to make. Not only is early intervention important, but to come for an assessment early on. If there are any concerns regarding the child’s cognitive, emotional, or social development, it is very important that parents err on the side of caution and go for assessments.
Learn more about DAS Assessments here.
About the Author:
Deborah Tan, Hina Dadabhoy
Dyslexia Association of Singapore