In the past five years, the DAS has become a “research organisation” with every team and every programme involved in the evaluation of their programmes and services and publishing research papers. This research is published in our DAS publications and synchronises with our emphasis on scope, expertise and reliability! The research examines our programmes, services and the students we serve and suggests areas for improvement leading to the expansion of the scope of our services and programmes. The research also highlights areas when staff professional development is required resulting in training to enhance the expertise of DAS staff. Last but not least, programme evaluation and research with positive results give us confidence that we are making a difference for our students and reflects the reliability of our services and programmes.
Our programme evaluation is discussed in our Annual DAS Handbook. While our research efforts are mainly published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Developmental Differences (APJDD). We have just released the 12th issue of the APJDD and besides two papers from the UK and one from Indonesia, I am most heartened that DAS colleagues once again have papers in the APJDD. The APJDD is the result of the excellent work by our Editor-in-Chief Professor Angela Fawcett, Managing Editor Deborah Hewes and the Scientific Review Board and Research Committee led by Geetha Shantha Ram.
Of the four articles presented by DAS staff in the latest issue of APJDD, the first is by Sharyfah Nur Fitriya a Senior Educational Therapist (EdT) and Educational Advisor (EA) at DAS. Sharyfah explores a preference-based teaching approach to keeping children with severe ADHD on task in the classroom by incorporating activities and interests of the student to make learning more interesting.
The second article is by Siti Mariam Binte Daud a Senior Educational Therapist and DAS Academy Associate Lecturer. Mariam looked at the experience of mainstream students with dyslexia in Singapore and how they viewed inclusion. Both the positive and negative findings are shared and they indicate a need for greater awareness in teachers and the development of knowledge about dyslexia and its strengths and weaknesses.
The third article by Lead Educational Therapist Tuty Elfira Abdul Razak, who is also the Programme Manager for the PREP 2 PSLE Programme (formerly known as the English Exam Skills Programme) focuses on the use of picture books to improve comprehension in younger primary school children with dyslexia. This research shows that learning pictorially can be particularly effective for this group of students.
Last but not least, the fourth article by Serena Tan Abdullah a Lead Educational Therapist and Assistant Director with the English Language and Literacy (ELL) Division overseeing the development and the implementation of the curriculum at DAS including the DAS Main Literacy Programme (MLP), iStudysmart and iReaCH programmes, studies teacher perception of the improved comprehension curriculum which is designed for secondary level MLP students at DAS. Both qualitative and quantitative data on teachers’ perceptions are shared and the results suggest that the majority of teachers found the new curriculum useful. However, their confidence in delivering this more advanced curriculum varied and suggests further support and training is needed for DAS Educational Therapists.
The above reflects the continuing effort of DAS colleagues to improve our curriculum and service. I am also very pleased that all four colleagues have been with DAS between 6 to 12 years and their commitment bode well for the future of the organisation. DAS is proud of its staff and the significant contribution and difference they make to the students they serve at DAS.