Overcoming Dyslexia and Cyberbullying: Calista’s Inspirational Journey

Calista’s educational journey took a turn when she was diagnosed with dyslexia during her time in Primary 2. However, her life took a positive direction when she joined the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) and became a part of a supportive community.  Throughout her years at DAS, Calista formed close bonds with her classmates, who remained constant companions throughout her journey. She is grateful for their enduring friendship, nurtured during her time at DAS, and continues to be connected to them after graduation through social media.

Raised by a single mother, Calista’s story is a testament to the unwavering support and foresight of her mother. Despite facing financial constraints, her mother recognised the importance of enrolling Calista in DAS. At that time, they were unaware of the financial assistance options available, and her mother selflessly paid over $500 per semester, a significant financial burden. Calista holds profound gratitude for her mother’s unwavering dedication and sacrifices, which she wishes to wholeheartedly acknowledge in this article.


Entering Secondary 3, Calista embarked on the DAS iStudySmart™ programme while completing her last semester at DAS. As one of the youngest participants, this experience bestowed her with newfound confidence, enabling her to apply the acquired skills to her Secondary school studies. Currently serving as an Executive Council member at her school, Calista showcases her abilities by efficiently taking minutes during meetings and expressing herself eloquently, thanks to the skills she gained from iStudySmart™.


The iStudySmart™ programme aims to assist students in transitioning to higher levels of learning by imparting essential study skills, including research techniques, time management, organisation, and presentation skills. Calista thoroughly enjoyed the course, and she seamlessly applied the knowledge gained to her Secondary Education. Her classmates also recognised her exceptional presentation abilities, often encouraging her to represent the team during class presentations. Overall, Calista is excelling in her Secondary studies and is brimming with confidence in her abilities.


The culmination of the iStudySmart™ programme is a presentation event, where parents, teachers, and students gather to listen to the students’ presentations. Calista’s final presentation tackled the pressing issue of cyberbullying. Skillfully weaving together narratives about the dark side of social media, she shed light on the detrimental effects of cyberbullying faced by students. Drawing from personal experiences, Calista shared the story of ‘May,’ a girl who endured gossip, rumors, and name-calling within clandestine WhatsApp groups. Additionally, she highlighted how students with dyslexia, due to academic challenges they face, often become targets of bullying, facing derogatory labels such as ‘dumb’ or ‘stupid.’ By incorporating real-life examples, Calista crafted a compelling narrative to raise awareness about the negative impact of cyberbullying on individuals with dyslexia. Her closing statement emphasised the importance of overcoming adversity: “I want to spread awareness that cyberbullying, although not physically tangible and occurring through phones, can inflict the same emotional pain as physical or verbal bullying. By emerging stronger, one can conquer any obstacle that comes their way.”

Concluding her presentation, Calista revealed that ‘May’ was her, sharing her own experience of being bullied in primary school. With the unwavering support of her mother, counsellors, and teachers, Calista overcame the ordeal by shifting her focus away from negativity. Opting to enrol in a different Secondary school, she gained a fresh perspective on her future and found a supportive circle of friends.

Presently, Calista serves as a prefect, Head of Secretariat for her school’s Student Council Executive Committee, and student conductor for her co-curricular activity (CCA). Additionally, she actively contributes to her community through her involvement in the church.  And, she is hoping to become a nurse one day.

Calista’s aspiration to become a nurse stems from her heartfelt connection to this profession. She recognises the crucial qualities required in nursing, such as compassion and understanding differences. Moving from a primary school with a predominantly Chinese student body to a secondary school embracing diverse cultures, Calista’s horizons broadened. This exposure helped her appreciate the value of inclusive thinking and understanding different perspectives.

In conclusion, Calista’s remarkable journey of overcoming dyslexia and cyberbullying serves as an inspiration to us all. With her big heart, unwavering determination, and positive outlook on life, she has proven that adversity can be conquered and transformed into a driving force for personal growth. DAS wholeheartedly wishes Calista all the best in her future endeavors. As she continues to make a difference in her school, community, and ultimately as a nurse, her compassionate nature and understanding of differences will undoubtedly touch the lives of many. Calista is a shining example of resilience and kindness, and her bright future awaits with endless possibilities.


The iStudySmart™ Programme aims to empower students to become confident and independent individuals through the acquisition of time management and prioritisation skills, planning and organisation skills, tertiary writing skills and presentation skills, critical in building a strong foundation for success in higher education and beyond.

Click here for more information on the DAS iStudySmart™ programme and how it can help you.