DAS Research


An Evaluation of the Preference-Based Teaching Approach for Children with Dyslexia and Challenging Behaviours

Sharyfah Nur Fitriya, Masters in Special Educational Needs
University of South Wales, Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS)
[email protected]


Dyslexia is characterised by difficulties in accurate and/or fluent word
recognition, reading comprehension, written expression and poor spelling. These are due to deficits in the phonological component of language that
are often related to other cognitive abilities which can cause behavioural
or emotional problems.

Dyslexia is often accompanied by  challenging behaviours which are defined as externalising disorders.

Externalising behaviours refer to conflicts with other people, such as
rule-breaking behaviour, aggression, social problems and problems with attention. These students frequently suffer from attentiveness and
concentration issues, which may result in losing interest in the tasks that
are assigned to them.

For this study, the preference-based teaching approach will tap into a
student’s interests and existing knowledge.

These will be integrated into the lesson to increase on-task behaviour and
improve attentiveness in the classroom setting.
This study aims to help teachers to better manage students with dyslexia
and their challenging behaviour and at the same time increase
engagement of students with dyslexia.

Evaluating Reading Gains in Learners with Dyslexia Across a Continuum of Literacy Bands using Curriculum Based Assessment

Sujatha Nair, Assistant Director (QA), English Language and Literacy Division, DAS | [email protected]
Pratyusha Sridhar, Senior Educational Therapist & Educational Advisor, DAS | [email protected]


The Main Literacy Programme (MLP) at the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) only admits
students that have been assessed for and given a diagnosis of Dyslexia. Following admission, students’
cognitive and literacy profiles are further analysed to assign a band (Ram et.al., 2015) for their
educational placement within the programme enabling MLP to offer individualised lessons taught in
accordance to the Orton-Gillingham Principles (Ritchey & Goeke, 2006; Rose & Zirkel, 2007). Each
band has three levels of literacy learning, making it a total of nine levels across bands “A” to “C”. There
are four core skills that are covered in cumulation – from emergent to functional to advanced literacy
skills – across these bands; they are phonics, language & vocabulary, reading comprehension and
writing. Students’ progress across these skills is then monitored using digitised Curriculum Based
Assessments (CBAs).

The rate of progression across the four skills is not expected to be uniform – owing to varying student
profiles and ensuing curriculum. In a previously conducted study (Nair, Ram & Kurusamy, 2018) it was
observed that the Band A students generally made the most significant progress in reading. The
current study aims to check if the reading gains made by Band A students still holds true and to further
analyse the profile of the learners making the reading gains.

The construction and evaluation of an English Exam Skills test for Primary School students with Dyslexia

Edmen Leong, Director of Specialised Educational Services, Dyslexia Association of Singapore |  [email protected]
Dr. Hu Guangwei, Professor, Hong Kong Polytechnic University


The construction of a test previously used successfully with dyslexic children and low
achievers to assess performance is formally evaluated in this study. An English Exam
Skills Programme (EESP) was developed and implemented in 2013 with the goal of
helping primary school students with dyslexia develop their English Language skills
and achieve in their school and national examinations. The design of the EESP adhered
to the Orton Gillingham principles and aimed to ensure that the pedagogy would
allow students to transfer skills and concepts learnt to their examination performance.
Leong (2015) reports a study conducted to evaluate the progress of students in the
EESP using a pre-test and a post-test design. Results from the study suggested that
the EESP was effective in addressing the English Language development and
examination needs of primary school learners with dyslexia. The study however was
based on tests that were designed by the curriculum developers of the EESP and were
not subjected to a full validation process. To accurately establish the effectiveness of
the EESP, it is also important to ensure that the testing procedures used are optimally
reliable and valid. In order to achieve this goal, a new English Exam Skills test for
primary students enrolled in the EESP has been developed and validated, following
McNamara’s (2000) “testing cycle” of the design stage, the construction stage, the
try-out stage, and the operational stage. Results obtained from the trialling and
validation of the test, including item and whole test analyses, were used to refine and
finalize the test. Test takers’ performances on this test (both the original and revised
versions) were compared with their performances on a test conducted in mainstream
primary schools. Substantial correlations constituted evidence of convergent validity.
The analyses not only helped to establish the construct validity of the newly
developed test but made it possible to predict EESP students’ performance on their
school and national examinations. In addition, such analyses helped to gauge the
effectiveness of the EESP curriculum and the English Language development of
dyslexic learners in primary schools.

Difficulties in expressing numbers in words - A study on Grade Four Dyslexic Students in Singapore

Rebecca Yeo, Maths Programme Manager, Lead Educational Therapist | [email protected]
Siti Aishah Bte Shukri, Senior Educational Therapist | [email protected]
Aishah Abdullah, Lead Educational Therapist | [email protected]
Serene Low, Educational Therapist | [email protected]


It is widely acknowledged that any natural number can be expressed
in three forms: its Arabic-numeral form (also known as symbolic
form), its word form and its non-symbolic form (such as repeating
the same shape to represent the quantity). The ability to read and
recognize numbers is one of the basic skills in mathematics.
Research has found that children’s ability to recognize number in
kindergarten is a good predictor of their mathematical achievement
in first grade (Hornung, Schiltz, Brunner & Martin, 2014).
The process of translating numbers from one representation to
another is called transcoding. In this research, we are interested
in the process of transcoding numbers from their Arabic numeral
form to their word equivalent. While there has been some research
on this process, the existing models fail to consider how language
features, such as spelling, the appropriate use of punctuation and
grammatical structures like the appropriate use of the connector
“and” also affect the accuracy of transcoding. These models are
also based on people without any language difficulties and may
not be sufficient to explain how people with dyslexia transcode
numbers from their Arabic numeral form to words and the
difficulties they may experience when doing so. This study
seeks to explore the difficulties Primary Four students with
dyslexia would have with expressing 5-digit numbers in words
by looking at the types of errors they were making in this task.

Behaviour IS a form of Language

DAS Preschool Educational Therapists | Cheryl Yeo, Natasha Mastura Malek, Joanne Tan
[email protected] | [email protected] | [email protected]


Children with emotional and behavioural issues tend to fall
behind in all areas of developments, especially academic
achievements. Often, managing these emotional and
behavioural issues lead to unnecessary struggles and
painful interactions with young children.

Parents and educators need see behaviours as a form of
language that communicates children’s worries, fears,
anxieties and anger. Close observation helps parents and
educators understand the reasons behind children’s
emotional and behavioural issues . With visual cue aids,
adults can help regulate and manage children’s emotions
and behaviours.

Building Comprehension Skills for Preschoolers

DAS Preschool Educational Therapists | Shakthi Bavani Sathiasilan & Vera Tai
[email protected] | [email protected]


Research has shown that children who lack comprehension can produce anxiety and other affective barriers to learning
(Ausubel, 1987). It was also found out that poor oral skills correlated with limited progress in reading comprehension (Liow, 1997).
Hence, taking into consideration how primary school learners acquire comprehension skills, we came out with activities to expose
preschoolers to these essential skills using a variety of oracy activities.

Nurturing Social Skills and Social Smarts in the Early Years

Lee Er Ker, Senior Speech and Language Therapist, DAS [email protected]
Elizabeth Lim, Speech and Language Therapist, DAS [email protected]


It has become increasingly recognized that social skills play an important
role in children’s overall emotional health and well-being. Hence, it is
important to help children develop flexible thinking and social competencies,
or social smarts in the early years. In the first workshop, the presenters
introduced 4 concepts that support the development of children’s
self-awareness and other-awareness (awareness of other people), or social
awareness, by teaching children the practice of social observation in different
everyday, real-life contexts. In the second workshop, Elizabeth and Lee
expanded on the proposed framework to nurture social smarts in children by
introducing another 4 key concepts which underpin strategies for helping
children develop self-focus and other-focus through the practice of habits
necessary for developing the skill of perspective-taking. Essential vocabulary
to teach these concepts were introduced and useful tips on how these
concepts can be taught and facilitated in the context of children’s day-to-day
experiences were shared.

Playing with Sounds: Strategies for Developing Phonological Awareness for Better Reading Success

Sylvia Foo, DAS Academy Senior Lecturer [email protected]
Nadia Ali, DAS Preschool Educational Therapist [email protected]


Phonological awareness is the ability to hear, identify and manipulate the units of sounds in speech. Research indicates that it is highly predictive of and related to later success in reading (Lonigan, 2003). Research also shows that most children who have difficulties learning to read have a core deficit in phonological awareness
and related processing skills (Wagner et al, 1997).  Phonological awareness can be developed through multi-sensory activities.

Educational Therapists' Perceptions After Training for an Enhanced Reading Comprehension Curriculum

Chua Minqi, Specialist Psychologist, Dyslexia Association of Singapore | [email protected]
Dr. Yeo Lay See, Supervisor, National Institute of Education


Reading Comprehension Intervention at the Dyslexia Association of
Singapore (DAS): The DAS provides the Main Literacy Programme
(MLP), formerly known as the MOE-aided Literacy Programme (MAP),
a specialist literacy intervention for students with Dyslexia. The
intervention is delivered by DAS Educational Therapists and includes
reading comprehension instruction. In 2016, the DAS implemented an
Enhanced Reading Comprehension Curriculum, which aimed to
better align intervention with the mainstream school curriculum,
standardize the reading comprehension curriculum at the DAS, as
well as equip Educational Therapists with strategies to teach reading
comprehension more effectively.

In-service Teacher Training: In-service training has been found to
increase teachers’ knowledge or practice modestly (National
Reading Panel, 2000). At the DAS, in-service training was provided to
Educational Therapists to train them on the enhanced curriculum, so
that they are better able to deliver the curriculum to its intended

– Mass training was conducted over three half-day workshops for all Educational Therapists
– Training included explanation of skills, demonstrations on teaching skills, and opportunities to practice teaching during the workshops
– A resource pack was provided

Evaluating a Reading Comprehension Curriculum and Factors Predicting Reading Comprehension Performance

Fong Pei Yi, Manager, SpLD Assessment Services, DAS | [email protected]
Dr. Yeo Lay See, Supervisor, National Institute of Education


An Enhanced Reading Comprehension Curriculum: The DAS Main Literacy
Programme (MLP) formerly known as the MOE-aided Literacy Programme (MAP)
at the DAS is an intervention programme for students with dyslexia that targets
phonemic awareness and phonics, reading fluency, reading comprehension,
vocabulary and writing. The reading comprehension curriculum of the MLP was
recently enhanced to better align the curriculum with the mainstream curriculum
that students encounter in school, as well as to equip educational therapists at the
DAS with specific strategies that they can rely on to teach reading comprehension.

Factors Predicting Reading Comprehension Performance: According to the Simple View of Reading
(SVR; Gough & Tunmer, 1986), reading comprehension is the product of linguistic comprehension
and decoding abilities. While support can be found for this framework in studies that demonstrate
the ability of verbal ability and phonological awareness in predicting reading comprehension,
researchers have also explored the possibility that other cognitive factors can do so as well.
Specifically, naming speed, non-verbal cognitive ability and working memory have been shown to
play a role in predicting reading comprehension (Adlof, Catts & Lee, 2010; Cain, Oakhill, & Bryant,
2004; Georgiou, Das, & Hayward, 2008).

Perspectives of Students with Special Educational Needs on Inclusion

Siti Mariam Binte Daud
Senior Educational Therapist | Associate Lecturer
Dyslexia Association of Singapore | DAS Academy
[email protected]


Many studies have looked at the perspectives of local parents and teachers on inclusion and inclusive
education practices. However, very few studies have looked at the perspectives of local students with SEN studying in mainstream schools on those practices. The current research project aims to examine the perspectives of these students studying in local mainstream schools.

Auditory, Visual and Cross Modal Temporal Processing Skills among Chinese Children with Developmental Dyslexia

LIU, Si Si 1 WANG, Li Chih 12* LIU, Duo 12
1 Department of Special Education and Counselling at The Education University of Hong Kong
2 Integrated Centre for Wellbeing at The Education University of Hong Kong
*Corresponding author: [email protected]


Research suggests that readers with developmental dyslexia tend to show impairment in temporal processing
(TP), a broad term used to define the low level processing of the temporal characteristics, such as stimulus
duration, rapidity of change of stimuli, and sequence order, of sensory stimuli in different modalities ( Grondin ,
2010). The present study examined whether TP is associated with reading of a non alphabetic script, i.e.,
Chinese. A total of 126 primary school aged Chinese children from Taiwan (63 children with dyslexia)
completed cross modal, visual, and auditory temporal order judgment tasks and measures of Chinese reading
and literacy related skills.

Development of Adaptive Experiential Learning via Interactive Contemporary Education with Extended Reality (AELVICE XR)

by Pong Ke Xin Stella, Lau Jia Xian, Tan Chee Wah Wesley


Research has shown that perceived visual clutters render texts illegible for
dyslexic learners and reducing it improves both their presentation and reading
skills. This project is a VR EduTech solution which aims to address two of the
most major issues students with dyslexia face: speech and literacy.

Dyslexia And The Imagery-Language Connection: Improving Word Reading and Orthographic Processing in Dyslexic Children

Angelica Benson, Ed. M. – Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes
San Luis Obispo, California, USA


Is the Dual-Coding Theory (DCT) of cognition a critical factor in word
reading and spelling, as applied to addressing the symptoms of
dyslexia including weak phonemic awareness and orthographic
processes? Can the reading deficits associated with dyslexia be
addressed with an intervention approach grounded in DCT?
This poster explores the nature and role of symbol imagery (mental
imagery representing the letters and sounds in words) in enhancing
reading for dyslexics. These diagnostic and behavioral intervention
findings validate the imagery-language connection, as proposed by
DCT, resulting in significant effects on word attack, word recognition,
fluency, and comprehension – those specific areas of concern for
students with dyslexia.

Level Of Understanding Of Dyslexia Among Indonesian Professionals, Teachers And Society

Chairwoman of Dyslexia Association of Indonesia
kristant[email protected]


This study is a simple survey upon the understanding level of Indonesian people
regarding dyslexia done within 23 months started in May 2017, using
Google form questionnaires. Total respondents were 1950 persons, coming
from various islands of Indonesia. Most of them were teachers, female,
aged ranged 30-39 years old, bachelor degree. Approximately 13,5%
respondents believed that dyslexia had low IQ and therefore they would put
dyslexic students in the special class set for low IQ students.

Robots and children learning differently: A brief review of robot applications for young children

Patricia Mui Hoon Ng Associate Fellow Register of Educational Therapists (Asia)


This is a review of articles on robot applications used with children in the general population of early childhood (0 – 8) years for the potential benefits in using them in the education of today’s children who need to be learning differently. As young children are growing up in an increasingly tech-savvy world, this review would serve to raise the awareness of robot applications developed for them. Based on collaborative efforts in function and design such as the use of puppetry, as well as curriculum design in areas such as behaviour modification, social or motor skills, numeracy, language and literacy through storytelling and/or games, the robot applications reviewed here have been found to present with great potential for a dynamic way to educate the young. Implications for use with children with special needs are discussed.

Saccadic Suppression in Dyslexics

by Parameswari Shunmugam, Vijayakumar V, Muthusamy KA


Saccades are the rapid eye movements that bring objects of interest onto the
highly sensitive part of the retina in the eye, the fovea. During saccades, the
image under observation moves across the retina. Saccadic suppression
refers to the observation that under normal circumstances, healthy humans
do not perceive this motion. It has been found that saccade differences exist
between dyslexics and normal controls. In this study we have compared the electroencephalographic data of dyslexics and controls to see if the
saccadic suppression is different between the two groups.