DAS Research

BDA Conference 2016

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Abbreviating a Learning Difficulties Checklist for Clinical Use

Lois Lim and Chua Minqi (Dyslexia Association of Singapore)

Sim Wei Jun and Tan Wah Pheow (Temasek Polytechnic)

The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) conducts psycho-educational assessments for dyslexia and other specific learning differences. The assessment process entails the triangulation of background information about a child’s learning from significant others as well as standardised test results.

The Learning Difficulty Checklist (LDC), which was created by the DAS and used as part of the formal assessment process, was found to be effective in discriminating children with any learning disorder from those who did not have them. However, it was less effective in discriminating children with dyslexia from those with other learning disorders. As such, it was timely to do further analyses to remove items that may be redundant to the assessment process and to shorten the LDC to make it easier for parents to complete.

To abbreviate the LDC without compromising information crucial for formal assessments, as parental feedback suggested that completing the LDC is time-consuming and tedious.

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Exploring the Relationships between Parental Influence on Preschoolers’ Early Language in a Multi-lingual Context

Lois Lim, Vicki Lim & Shehnas Alam

 

Previous research documenting the ’30 million word gap’ has highlighted that parental characteristics such as socio-economic status (SES) and educational levels have shown significant influences on children’s vocabulary growth (Hart & Risley, 1995). Children from low SES families have higher risks of difficulties in developing reading-related skills like phonological awareness (PA) (Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998).
Similarly, Hoff & Tian (2005) reported that mothers’ education significantly impacted children’s language-related skills. Dual language exposure has also been found to influence children’s language proficiency (Place & Hoff, 2011). However, little is known about the interplay of these on children’s language development in a multi-lingual context like Singapore where a typical Singaporean child is exposed to at least two languages at home.
The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) provides early literacy intervention to >200 preschoolers every year and many of them go on to be assessed to investigate if they might have dyslexia. This study looked explored parents’ influence on their preschoolers’ early language development.

AIMS
• Explore the relationships between parents’ SES and education levels and their preschoolers’ early language development within a multi-lingual context like Singapore.
• Inform parents and educators about the factors that could impact early language development.

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The Influence of Language Factors on Young Dyslexics’ Progress in Intervention

Lois Lim, Tam Jun Hui & Deborah Ng

Previous investigations have provided insight into the intimate associations between language and literacy development (Nation and Snowling, 2004). Research has also shown that language ability, both the phonological (e.g. phonological awareness) and non-phonological aspects (e.g. verbal ability), may be significant predictors in reading outcomes of young children (Catts, Hogan, & Fey, 2003).
However, most of the existing research has been focused on the impact of the phonological aspect. Given Singapore’s multilingual environment, it is important to examine the influence of early language exposure to English, early language ability and phonological awareness on the literacy gains among young dyslexics undergoing intervention.

AIMS
 Evaluate the effects of early language exposure to English, language ability and phonological awareness on the literacy development of young children with dyslexia.
 Add to the current literature on early identification of risk factors of literacy difficulties
 Inform parents and educators about non-phonological language factors that could impact early literac

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Creation of Literacy Tasks for the Evaluation of a Literacy Intervention Program

Lois Lim, Adelaine Teo and Winston Quek – Dyslexia Association of Singapore
Tan Wah Pheow, Sydney Goh, Jerlyn Lam, Teo Kai Xin, Alecia Lim and Andria Tan – Temasek Polytechnic

The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) provides literacy intervention for individuals diagnosed with dyslexia. Today, there are around 3000 children who receive literacy intervention at the DAS. It is important to monitor their progress as they receive intervention. Previously, the DAS used standardized literacy reading and spelling tests to do so, but this became challenging due to the size of DAS’ student population.
In this study, the DAS attempted to implement a Curriculum Based Assessment (CBA) that could be used to track students’ individual progress every 6 months. The CBA comprises various literacy tasks that encompass reading and spelling, with words selected based on the difficulty level determined from the scope and sequence of the DAS curriculum. These in turn will be used to track group performance of children over time and the overall effectiveness of the DAS’ literacy intervention.

Aims
 Identify words based on what is being taught in the DAS scope and sequence, with a view in mind to create parallel forms of the reading and spelling tests in future.
 Group selected words using theoretical linguistics rules (i.e., theoretical banding) and administer these words to normally achieving students so that their difficulty levels can be re-categorized (i.e., empirical banding).
 Determine if the empirically established word difficulty levels map onto the theoretical banding.

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Evaluating the Progress of Dyslexic Children on a Small Group Maths Intervention Programme in Singapore

Anaberta Oehlers-Jaen

Rationale for the Essential Maths Programme
The DAS Essential Maths Programme which was started in 2009, aims to support students attending the Dyslexia Association of Singapore who continue to have persistent difficulties in mathematics, through a dyslexia-friendly mathematics intervention programme. The current enrolment is 250 students.

Purpose Of Study
I. Evaluate our students’ progress by measuring how much learning had taken place topic by topic on a small group mathematics intervention programme
II. Identify teaching priorities across topics based on students’ performance

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A Comparative Analysis of 2 Mentoring Approaches at the Dyslexia Association of Singapore

Sujatha Nair, Assistant Director (Quality Assurance);

Sumathi D/O Krishna Kumar, Senior Educational Therapist;

Hani Zohra Muhamad, Lead Educational Therapist

Mentoring is significant in the life of any new teacher. A mentoring programme aims to provide new teachers with support in the practical aspect of teaching.
At the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS), formal mentoring takes place over a period of six months. New teachers are paired with experienced teachers who guide them on lesson planning and delivery, as well as classroom and student behaviour management.
This study examines the strengths of two types of mentoring approach currently adopted at the DAS – (a) mentoring concurrently when formal teaching begins and (b) mentoring after formal teaching begins.
These findings will inform of the preferred mentoring approach and help to identify specific challenges, benefits and the impact either of these approaches had on teachers’ performances.
Keyword: mentoring, formal teaching, challenges, teacher’s performance

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Structured Writing Instruction and Writing Checklist Aid Learners with Dyslexia in Writing: A Case Study

Serena Abdullah, Assistant Director;

Nur Alia Bte Salim, Senior Educational Therapist;

Rosalyn Wee, Senior Educational Therapist

Purpose of Research
A case study was conducted to explore whether the use of structured writing instruction and student-friendly writing checklist could lead to an improvement in narrative writing skills of learners with dyslexia.

Aim of Research
To determine whether the use of explicit instruction, in the form of a writing checklist, will improve learners’ narrative writing skills and increase their motivation.