CEO Thoughts: IDA 2020 Excellence in Leadership Award

IDA 2020 Excellence in Leadership Award

Lee Siang receives the Excellence in Leadership Award at the IDA 2020 Conference.

Watch the presentation here.

Lee Siang’s Acceptance Speech

A big hello from Singapore!

I would like to thank the IDA for this Excellence in Leadership Award as this is a recognition of the efforts and achievements of the IDA’s Global Partners Committee in recent years.  IDA is in the unique position of leading the world in the work for those with dyslexia and I was delighted to be selected to join the Global Partners Committee in 2013.  I thank Dr Charley Haynes and Dr Gad Elbehari for initially inviting me to join.  Gad of course continues to lead the Global Partner Committee today.

I am glad to have contributed to IDA’s efforts to build a global community for dyslexia and today, we have dyslexia organisations from all six continents as GP members.  Some of the initiatives of the Global Partners Committee in recent years included a Global Partners Handbook, a series of Global Partners Videos, an annual International Journey session during the IDA Conference as well as an Institutional Accreditation process to recognize well run dyslexia organisations around the world.  I am confident that under Gad’s leadership, IDA’s Global Partners will continue to grow and thrive.

2020 has of course been a particularly challenging time for everyone all over the world but what I have witnessed has heartened me.  People from all over the world have refused to let the virus stop them from doing their work. A recent virtual forum in Singapore which included a dyslexia panel from Australia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, and Singapore told us that support for those with dyslexia continues despite the pandemic and the consequent lockdown!

I have been so grateful to my colleagues in Singapore who responded magnificently in March 2020 when they were called upon to transition over 3,000 students from physical to online classes. It was a momentous task and not surprisingly there was great angst among teachers, students, and parents.  But I am so proud of all of them as they overcame their initial apprehension and challenges and succeeded in teaching and learning online.  There were in fact many positive outcomes:

  • 97% of students with dyslexia enrolled in our programmes in Singapore were able to receive continued direct teaching online via Google Meet.
  • Over 100 DAS students with no access to devices received refurbished laptops during the lockdown and 10 also received free internet.
  • Attendance for classes improved significantly to just 1% of students with poor attendance.
  • Parents were able to observe all classes online and have gained greater confidence in our classes and we received many compliments from parents during this period.

But my Singaporean colleagues did not let the lockdown and the need for safe distancing measures hold them back from reaching out and supporting more students in need:

  • There is increasing acceptance of online dyslexia awareness talks by schools and companies in Singapore.
  • Our Annual UNITE SPLD Conference and Student Graduation Ceremonies were both held virtually.
  • Student enrolment for some programmes has in fact surpassed the numbers from 2019.
  • Teachers attending training have also increased despite that fact that courses are now mostly conducted online.
  • Our bi-annual Research Journal was also published on time in July this year!

So as 2020 ends, I wish everyone to be safe and keep in good health, I would also say to everyone:

“Do not let the virus stop us from doing our work for those with dyslexia!”

Press on everyone!

To watch the presentation for the Award click here

Lee Siang is the Chief Executive Officer of the Dyslexia Association of Singapore. He regularly notes down his thoughts on the DAS Blog.

Learn more about Lee Siang here!