History of DAS

The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) is a vibrant organisation with over 240 professional staff who provide a wide array of services for dyslexics not only in Singapore but also in the region.

Working closely with the Singapore government and other stakeholders, DAS specialist psychologists conduct assessment and diagnosis for preschool students to adults. DAS Educational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists provide support for over 3,000 preschool, primary and secondary school students in 13 centres all over Singapore.

Besides the main English literacy programme, DAS also has programmes in other languages such as Chinese, academic subjects such as Maths, and holistic programmes such as Speech and Drama. Increasingly, DAS also provides for those who suffer from other Specific Learning Differences such as ADHD, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia and Specific Language Impairment. But this fast expanding organisation has humble beginnings.

1989

Jul

The Rotary Club of Raffles City initiated a community service project to raise awareness for dyslexia in Singapore, driven and led by Mr George Abraham and Dr Jimmy Daruwalla.

1990

Apr

The Rotary Club of Raffles City organised the first public forum on dyslexia. Mrs Marion Welchman, Secretary of the British Dyslexia Association and Founder of the first dyslexia association in the United Kingdom at Bath, Mrs Jean Augur, Educational Officer, British Dyslexia Association and Dr Lee Wei Ling, Consultant Paediatric Neurologist and Head of the Learning Disorders Clinic at School Health Services, were invited to speak at the forum. A workshop was also held for 200 teachers from the Ministry of Education (MOE).

Oct

A second public forum was organised by the Rotary Club of Raffles City and the need for establishing a Dyslexia Association in Singapore was put forward.

1991

Apr

A committee was formed to lay the groundwork for setting up the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS).

Oct

Dyslexia Association of Singapore was registered with the Registrar of Societies. The People’s Association provided the DAS with office space at its Kallang premises free-of-charge. The first Executive Committee was formed.

1991

1992

Jan

DAS Committee members held an informal meeting with Mrs George Bush, the First Lady of the United States during her visit to Singapore. At her request, the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas, presented the DAS with a set of 500 video tapes for remedial teaching.

Mar

The Rotary Club of Raffles City and the Canadian Alumni raised $25,000 to finance the initial operations of DAS.

1993

Aug

DAS hired its first teacher, Ms Dawn Brockett. There was a total of 12 students under her care.

Oct

DAS’s first Learning Centre was set up at the Student Care Services Centre in Clementi.

1993

1994

Feb

Dr Loke Loo Pin organised a charity concert “A Musical Affair” in aid of DAS at the Jubilee Hall in Raffles Hotel, which raised a total of $16,700.

Mar

The official opening of the first DAS Learning Centre at the Student Care Services Centre in Clementi, by Mr Bernard Chen, MP for Brickworks GRC. DAS also published its first newsletter.

1995

Apr

Mrs Goh Chok Tong became the Patron of DAS.

May

DAS held its first Charity Dinner and Dance at the ballroom of Shangri-La Hotel. Mrs Goh Chok Tong was the Guest-of-Honour. A total of $250,000 was raised.

Jun

Dr Lee Wei Ling, Consultant Paediatric Neurologist and Head of the Learning Disorders Clinic at School Health Services became Advisor to DAS.

Jul

Dr Aline Wong, Senior Minister of State (Education & Health) announced a MOE-DAS joint project and a starting grant of $500,000 which included $95,000 for the renovation of another DAS Learning Centre at Ping Yi Primary School. The balance was a subsidy paid over the following three years. 

Sep

DAS Learning Centre at Clementi Community Centre was officially opened by Mrs Goh Chok Tong, DAS Patron. 

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1996

Mar

DAS appointed its first Executive Director, Mrs Linda Low.

Apr

A symposium on dyslexia, sponsored by the British Association of Singapore, was held to increase public awareness of this learning difficulty. DAS Patron, Mrs Goh Chok Tong, was the Guest-of-Honour at the opening ceremony of DAS Learning Centre in Ping Yi Primary School.

Jul

60 teachers from various primary schools attended a Dyslexia Awareness Course jointly organised by the MOE and DAS. 

Oct

DAS organised a Gala Dinner to celebrate its 5th Anniversary on 27 October 1996. 

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1997

Oct

DAS appointed its second Executive Director, Ms Zunaidah Shahul Hamid. 

Dec

Student Enrolment at DAS jumped to 188. Of these students, 128 were in the Primary One to Fourage range. 

1998

Jun

DAS invited Mr Ron Yoshimoto and Ms Jane Raissle to conduct the first Orton-Gillingham (OG) Course.

Jul

The Clementi Learning Centre was moved to Alexandra Primary School and renamed as Redhill Learning Centre.

Oct

The Redhill Learning Centre at Alexandra Hill Primary School was officially opened by Dr Aline Wong, Minister of State (Education and Health). 

Dec

Dr Aline Wong, Senior Minister of State (Education & Health) announced a MOE-DAS joint project and a starting grant of $500,000 which included $95,000 for the renovation of another DAS Learning Centre at Ping Yi Primary School. The balance was a subsidy paid over the following three years.

Sep

Enrolment at DAS grew to 223 students under the guidance of 10 teachers.

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1999

2000

2001

Jan

DAS appointed its third Executive Director, Madam Ong Phiak Kim. 

Mar

DAS became a Lifetime member of the International Dyslexia Association. 

Aug

The Roshen Daruwalla Trust Fund was set up to provide support for needy dyslexic children. 

Oct

The Official Opening Ceremony of the DAS Ang Mo Kio Learning Centre at Anderson Primary School was held with Mrs Goh Chok Tong as the Guest-of-Honour. DAS also celebrated its 10th Anniversary with a “Wild Wild West” Gala Dinner. Enrolment stood at 341 students.

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2002

Feb

Mr Hawazi Daipi, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education officially opened the Bedok Learning Centre in Fengshan Primary School.

Sep

Mr Robin Moseley took over as the fourth Executive Director at DAS.

Dec

Redhill Learning Centre moved to Queenstown Primary School and was renamed the Queenstown Learning Centre.

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2003

Jan

DAS started the Assessment Services with a team of seven psychologists. Enrolment stood at 528 students. 

Sep

Representatives from DAS attended the Orton-Gillingham International Conference in Vancouver, Canada. This marked the start of regular DAS participation in major conferences overseas. 

Dec

DAS held a press conference to announce the findings of a dyslexia awareness survey involving more than 720 parents. There was extensive media coverage on dyslexia and DAS was featured in all major newspapers and television channels. 

2003

2004

Jan

The Lee Foundation Dyslexia Centre was set up in SPRING Singapore, Bukit Merah. This centre was established to provide assessment and training services under one roof.

Feb

DAS Training Service was launched with its first Dyslexia Support Course for parents and teachers.

Mar

DAS launched the first in a series of workshops for parents and teachers. DAS started selling educational books on its website. Executive Director, Robin Moseley, gave a talk on dyslexia to 500 preschool teachers and principals at an MOE seminar.

Jul

Student enrolment at DAS exceeded 600 for the first time. DAS launched its first Diploma in Dyslexia Studies Course in a tie-up with the University of Cambridge International
Examinations.

Aug

Education Minister, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, opened the Lee Foundation Dyslexia Centre and the Roshen Daruwalla Resource Centre. DAS Patron, Mrs Goh Chok Tong, was the VIP speaker at the opening ceremony.

2005

Jan

Speech & Language service established with three Speech and Language Therapists. Enrolment stands at 778 students.

Mar

The Rotary Club of Raffles City held a charity golf event in aid of DAS. 

Jun

DAS signed a five-year contract with MOE to train for MOE Special Needs Officers. 

Jul

DAS presents a paper at the 3rd International Multilingualism and Dyslexia Conference in Cyprus. 

Dec

President S R Nathan and Mrs Nathan visited the Dyslexia Centre at SPRING Singapore. 

2006

Jan

First Lady, Mrs Nathan visited the Queenstown Learning Centre at Anderson Primary School. DAS opens the first learning centre in a shopping mall at Bishan Junction 8. 

Jun

DAS launched the Pre-School Service. Education Minister, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, was the Guest-of-Honour at this event. 

Jul

The Rotary Club of Raffles City, together with Lions Club of Singapore New Central, held a charity golf event in aid of DAS. 

Nov

The Rotary Club of Raffles City organised an Art Competition for DAS students. Volunteers from the Deutsche Bank helped at the event. 

2007

Apr

F1 Champion Sir Jackie Stewart visited DAS where he announced that DAS “could lead the world in this”.

Jul

DAS reaches out internationally to Hong Kong. The Orton-Gillingham course was conducted for the first batch of teachers of Tung Wah Group.

Oct

The graduation of the 1st batch of Special Needs Officers was held with Guest-of-Honour, Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Manpower. Enrolment stood at 1032 students.

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2008

Mar

Official Opening of Bishan Learning Centre at Bishan Junction 8 officiated by Mrs Goh Chok Tong, DAS Patron.

Jun

DAS launched its first Advertising Campaign sponsored by Credit Suisse Singapore.

Jul

DAS won the Best Poster award at the British Dyslexia Association Conference for the poster titled “Dyslexia Friendly Survey in Singapore - Students’ views on factors critical for learning” presented by DAS Psychologists.

Nov

Graduation of the 2nd Batch of Special Needs Officers was held with Guest-of-Honour, Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State, Minister of Education.

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2009

Jan

Dyslexia Centre moved to Jurong Point under the NCSS Civic and Community Institution Space Scheme. This centre, for the first time, provided assessment, training and education services under one roof. DAS also opened new learning centres in Woodlands and Tampines. This marks the first time that DAS has centres situated in HDB void decks.

May

DAS presented at a conference organised by the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals and the University of Hong Kong. DAS launches the first Dyslexia Raise Awareness Week (DRAW).
The Woodlands Learning Centre was officially opened by Mr Hawazi Daipi, MP for Sembawang GRC.

Aug

DAS conducted the first Certificate course in Dyslexia Studies for teachers from the Special Education Unit, MOE, Brunei. 

Sep

DAS launched the Masters in Arts in Specific Learning Differences course, accredited by London Metropolitan University in Singapore. DAS opened the 8th Learning Centre in Parkway Parade Shopping Mall. 

Nov

DAS organised the first Dyslexia Conference in Asia which was graced by Guest-of-Honour, Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Education and Second Minister of Defence. 

Dec

Preschool Service increases to 82 students. Enrolment of Main Programme stands at 1321 students. 

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2010

Apr

The first Dyslexia Conference was held and over 500 teachers, therapists and parents attended, along with a number of foreign delegates from Brunei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

May

DAS launched the “DAS at the libraries” to raise awareness about dyslexia. Several awareness talks in English, Malay, Tamil and Mandarin were conducted at various public libraries.

Aug

The Rotary Club of Raffles City (RCRC) held its 31st Installation Ceremony and the event was graced by Guest-of-Honour, Mr S. Dhanabalan, Chairman of Temasek Holdings. A total of $100,000 was raised for DAS at the event.

Nov

A first in Asia where topics on various aspects of SpLD were delivered, DAS Seminar Week was held over a series of five days at the Suntec Singapore Convention Centre. The event was made possible by the Lee Foundation who contributed $50,000 to support the event. Other sponsors included SPH Foundation and the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple.

2011

May

The Dyslexia Raise Awareness Week was held in its third year running and featured week-long activities with interactive activities such as ‘Building Self-Esteem’ at the Singapore Management University. In the same month, DAS International was launched as a wholly-owned subsidiary of DAS. It supported Singaporeans and expatriate students on a one-to-one basis and focused on a wider range of learning differences.

Jun

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) selected DAS as one of its four beneficiaries of its Community Investment Programme.

Nov

DAS held its third annual conference themed “Success with Technology” - a first in Asia for students and adults with specific learning differences. The focus was on Assistive Technology and how it can benefit and facilitate children’s learning.

2012

Oct

The Register of Educational Therapists (Asia) or RETA was officially launched at Traders Hotel. RETA members are classified according to their professional experiences and qualifications in the field of educational therapy.

Apr

DAS opened its Tampines Learning Centre and the opening event was graced by Mr Masagos Zulkifli Bin Masagos Mohamad, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and MP for Tampines GRC.

Sep

DAS celebrated 21 years of helping individuals with learning differences with a Charity Gala Dinner which raised a total of $1.3 million. The event was graced by Guest-of-Honour DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam, DAS Patron Mrs Goh Chok Tong, DAS Executive Committee members and major donors. There was a performance by DAS students as well as a charity auction.

2012

2013

Jul

DAS opened its 11th centre at Chinatown Point. The centre will serve as a hub for the new Chinese Remediation Programme and will also offer other DAS services to meet the rising demand for specialist education. The launch event was graced by Mr Sam Tan, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and Mayor, Central Singapore District.

Jun

More than 100 parents and educators attended the first ever DAS Preschool Seminar to learn about specific learning difficulties that preschool children face.

Nov

DAS held its Workshop Series themed “A Practical Approach to Learning” from 18 to 20 November, with sharing of the knowledge and expertise of local and international experts such as Susan Lowell and Dr Kate Saunders.

2013

2014

Jan

DAS publishes its first research journal, The Asia Pacific Journal of Developmental Differences.  This was to encourage research into dyslexia and related learning differences in the region as well as amongst DAS staff.  The journal’s editor is Emeritus Professor Angela Fawcett.

Mar

DAS officially opened our 13th centre on 17 March.   The Chairman of the Citizen's Consultative Committee, Minister for Health Mr Gan Kim Yong was the Guest of Honour.  Mr RajeshMalkani generously donated $300,000 to the building of the centre in the name of his late mother Mrs RatnaMalkani.  Mr Malkani’s donation is the largest donation ever from an individual donor.

Apr

The Specialised Educational Services (SES) was launched as a division of the Dyslexia Association of Singapore. SES aims to uncover the true strengths of individuals with learning differences and empower them with the necessary skills and strategies to succeed. The mission of SES is to unlock the potential of individuals with learning differences.

Jun

Starhub donates $160,500 for children from lower income families to attend the DAS SES Essential Maths Programme.

The largest student graduation ceremony to date was organized with 165 students graduating from the main literacy programme. Ten students received the OCBC-GTIB DAS Scholarship of $5000 each, to be used to further their education.

Aug

DAS launched EMBRACE DYSLEXIA, a campaign that seeks to bring greater awareness of dyslexia to Singapore and garner greater support for students and families. The campaign consists of events such as the Embrace Dyslexia Dinner and Seminar with famous guest speakers such as Thomas G. West, who is dyslexic himself. The campaign also includes a call for adults who are dyslexic and willing to share their personal stories as a form of encouragement and inspiration to people with learning differences. EMBRACE DYSLEXIA also aims to work with corporations and organisations in providing a dyslexia-friendly workplace for their staff.

Sep

After 12 years of service at DAS, Mr Robin Moseley retired from the post of Chief Executive Officer and the baton was handed over to Mr Lee Siang, who had joined DAS in 2001 and has played a key role in the rapid growth of DAS into a thriving social enterprise.

2014

2015

Feb

DAS Salutes The RCRC for Initiating the DAS 25 years ago and its continuing Support to Help Students with Dyslexia.  DAS unveiled a plaque in commemoration of the initiation of DAS by the Rotary Club Raffles City (RCRC).  At the event, RCRC also announced the donation of $34,000 in funds to DAS.

 

Visit to DAS Rex House Centre on 26 February 2015 by Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Communications and Information and Ms Denise Phua, MP for Moulmein-Kallang GRC, Mayor Central Singapore District,and President of the Autism Resource Centre where a wide range of topics regarding developments for the support of children with dyslexia was discussed.

Apr

For the second year running, DAS organised the Preschool Seminar to a sold-out crowd of preschool educators and parents. The seminar was extremely well-received; garnering praise from participants and for the first time featured an overseas guest speaker Dr Hugh Catts from the USA.

Jun

Uniting Ideas in Teaching Excellence: Specific Learning Differences (UnITE SpLD) 2016 is the first ever conference organised by DAS Academy. Attendees came together to share and discuss ideas in supporting children with learning needs and encourage a community of practice in this area.  The Guest of Honour was NCSS CEO Mr Sim Gim Guan.

Aug

In conjunction with EZ-Link, DAS organised an art competition for our students where the winning designs would be printed on Ez-Link cards to be sold islandwide. A portion of the proceeds amounting to $50,000 from the sales was donated to DAS.

Specialized Educational Services (SES) crossed the milestone of 1,000 students enrolled as of 22 Aug.  The Maths Programme lead the way with 269 students while the Preschool Programme has 266 students.  Other SES programmes include Chinese, Exam Skills, SLT, Specialist Tutoring, Speech and Drama, etc.

Sep

DAS Academy celebrated its largest graduating cohort yet with the their Graduation Ceremony 2015. Held at the Lifelong Learning Institute, more than 80 students graduated from DAS Academy’s higher-education courses such as Specialist Diplomas and Master of Arts programmes. The guest-of-honour was MR Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower.

Oct

MAP achieved a significant milestone by crossing the 3,000 studentenrolled mark as at 17 October (3,007 to be exact).  

Nov

Embrace A Different Kind of Mind: Personal Stories of Dyslexia is the DAS’ first ever published book containing more 57 stories of local heroes who have risen above their learning differences to make their mark in Singapore and beyond.

 

The annual Student Graduation and Awards Ceremony was graced this year by our patron, Mrs Goh Chok Tong as well as Guests of Honour Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Finance & Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Social and Family Development and Ministry of Education. This was the largest graduation ceremony yet with a total of 238 graduates from our MOE-aided DAS Literacy Programme (MAP).  There were also Special Awards for excellence. For the first time, DAS recognised the role of our Educational Therapists by introducing the MAP Educational Therapist of the Year award.

 

DAS CEO Lee Siang appointed to the Board of the International Dyslexia Association reflecting the increasing international reputation of the DAS.

2015

2016

Mar

The annual Preschool Seminar experimented with a change in format this year, holding concurrent workshops filled with practical tips and strategies for educators and parents to learn. Participants and Guest Speaker Dr Charles Haynes (USA) were very impressed with the workshops. This year’s seminar was sponsored by NTUC Income OrangeAid who expressed admiration at the DAS’s continuing efforts to support preschool children with literacy difficulties.

May

Computerised Curriculum Based Assessments (CBA).  MAP will fully launch their one of its kind computerised CBAs to monitor the progress of the 3,000 students on the MAP.

Jun

Second Unite SpLD Conference and first International Symposium.  This conference is unique in that it will be the first research-focused conference organized by DAS. 

Jul

It was a sad period for DAS as founding President Dr Jimmy Daruwalla passed away.  Dr Daruwalla was part of the team who founded the Association and has always taken a close interest in the events and happenings. He is fondly remembered and well respected by all staff and his legacy continues to guide the work at DAS.

Oct

DAS 25th Anniversary Carnival was held at the Toa Payoh HDB Hub and saw many members of the public participating and celebrating DAS’ 25th birthday. Live performance, stage games, exhibitions and booths allowed the public to engage with our staff to learn more about dyslexia and the range of services that DAS offers.



DAS 25th Anniversary Charity Dinner was held at Hotel Jen to raise funds for the Dyslexia Association of Singapore. The dinner was graced by Guest of Honour Ms Low Yen Ling, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mayor, South West CDC.

Nov

Shakespeare 400, the SES Speech and Drama Arts Programme held their second end-of-year production at Genexis Theatre to a crowd of 200. 38 students from the SDA programme from 3 learning centres performed adaptations of famous playwright William Shakespeare’s works, and were featured in the local news for their efforts.

 

Student Graduation 2016 was held at Kallang Theatre with 219 graduands and more than 50 award winners who were celebrated for the achievements outside of academic work. The Guest of Honour for the Student Graduation is Dr Janil Puthucheary, Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Education.

2016

2017

Jul

Clearly Different: Dyscovering the Differences was launched. The coffee-table book, authored by Dr William Wan and published by DAS, the book chronicles DAS' humble beginnings in 1991 to the organisation it is today. The book can be purchased on the DAS Webstore.

Oct

DAS kicked off World Dyslexia Awareness Week 2018 with a campaign titled Embracing Diversity: Dyslexia and other SpLDs! Happening from 2 - 8 October 2017, DAS organised a slew of activities aimed at increasing awareness of dyslexia and other Specific Learning Differences. 

 

The Assessment Services at DAS was launched as SpLD Assessment Services during the week. DAS is now able to assess not just for dyslexia, but also other specific learning difference (SpLD).

Nov

More than 30 DAS students visited Singapore President Mdm Halimah Yacob at the first ever Picnic@Istana. 

 

Journey of the Legends, a theatrical production put up by the SES Speech and Drama Arts Programme, was staged on 21 November 2017 at Gateway Theatre. 3 myths/legends from the Indian, Malay and Chinese literature were played by 40 students, enabling them to have an understanding of muticulturalism and interdisciplinary education.

2018

2019