It has been widely accepted that individuals with dyslexia face numerous challenges. As much as this is true, we need to also be reminded that they have strengths. People with dyslexia are well known to be highly creative visual thinkers who often come up with novel ideas. These strengths also apply to our students at DAS. In 2018, the theme for World Dyslexia Week (WDAW) 2018 was “Dys is Talent”. It provided a platform to celebrate the talents of our students with dyslexia, big or small.
One of the events of WDAW was the “DAS Talent Exhibition”. This exhibition required individuals to create art pieces on canvas using a variety of mediums. Artworks were to be exhibited at ONEPEOPLESG@BRADDEL and UOB Plaza. Although our Speech and Drama students were more used to the stage as a means of creative expression, a number of them rose up to this challenge. They were motivated by the opportunity to tell their individual stories through their creations as well as being a part of something greater than themselves.
A Different Tree
Our first art piece is a collaboration between two brothers Aiden Peh (15) and Gavin Peh (11) from Bishan Learning Centre. The art composition is titled “A different tree.” It eventually became a family affair with siblings Olive (8) and Isaac Peh (13) rendering additional support. (Olive and Gavin Peh do not have dyslexia)
Aiden and Gavin explained “Children with dyslexia may not be your typical green trees. We are much more than that. We are colourful, talented and can do great things!” We definitely agree.
The Peh siblings have been a constant source of joy and inspiration to us teachers at the SDA program. Aiden, Isaac, Gavin and Olive are naturally gifted actors who have been involved in SDA productions since 2016. Olive, the youngest and the newest to join the SDA program, took to the stage in 2018.
The New World
Next, we have Taniecia who is in Primary 5 this year from DAS Bishan Learning Centre. Her creation is titled “The new world.”
She states that “It is difficult to learn new things in the beginning but if we persevere, we will succeed. There’s a whole new world out there that I want to explore”. These are wise words indeed from a young person.
Taniecia’s “never say die” attitude has always been evident in the way she approaches rehearsals and performances. She only joined in 2017 but has grown tremendously as a stage artist and has undertaken multiple roles in our SDA productions. On top of singing, acting and painting, this talented girl has her own Youtube channel where she shares her love for Minecraft with the rest of the world.
This artistic production was contributed by Hannah Wong (10), SDA student from DAS Queenstown Learning Centre, titled, “Happiness”.
Hannah shared, “I was inspired by the fabrics that I saw for an upcoming sewing workshop. The blue stripe and yellow dots are the colours of my school uniform. This painting makes me feel happy and cheerful.”
Hannah joined our SDA program from 2016 to 2018. She is a multi-talented student who loves acting, playing a tune or two with her guitar and painting. She is thinking of exploring sewing next. Her painting depicts who she is, a cheerful girl who is unafraid to go out of her comfort zone to learn new skills.
Our last composition, titled “Fireflies”, is done by our SDA students from DAS Queenstown Learning Centre, Arata Nakajima (10), Kane Chia (9) and Ashlyn Loo (10). This creation was inspired by the mesmerising sights of fireflies basking in the moonlight.
Arata:” Fireflies light up our way at night.”
Ashlyn: “Fireflies are beautiful as they light up the night.”
Kane:” Fireflies are magical!”
The trio approached this task with a sense of seriousness and purpose. They thoroughly enjoyed the process and worked well as a team. Eventually, this art piece was chosen to be presented to Ms Indranee Rajah (Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance and Second Minister for Education) as a gift from DAS. What started as a simple art project became a major highlight in these little ones’ lives.
Just like fireflies, children with dyslexia are talented individuals waiting for the opportune time to allow their innate abilities and strengths to shine. As teachers and family members walking along aside them, we need to constantly provide them with a variety of avenues to grow and excel. Let’s celebrate all their talents and successes daily. Dys is indeed Talent.