President Halimah Yacob visits the Dyslexia Association of Singapore

In line with President’s Challenge 2020, the visit advances awareness and empowers people with dyslexia

SINGAPORE, 17 NOVEMBER 2020 – The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) hosted a visit by President Halimah Yacob at its Rex House Learning Centre today. In line with the focus of this year’s President’s Challenge on empowering people with disabilities, this momentous occasion underscores the importance of supporting children with dyslexia and other specific learning differences (SpLD) on their learning journey so that they can achieve their fullest potential.

In Singapore, an estimated 23,000 students from preschools to secondary schools have dyslexia severe enough to warrant intervention. Dyslexia is a type of specific learning difference that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent reading and spelling. About half of these children may experience co-occurring learning differences such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Specific Language Impairment (SLI), dyscalculia and dyspraxia.

During a tour of the centre led by Mr. Eric Lee, President of DAS, President Halimah was introduced to the comprehensive range of services provided by DAS for children with dyslexia through displays, learning activities, videos and interaction with DAS students and staff. She learned about the various programmes of DAS which are delivered by a multi-disciplinary team of psychologists, speech and language therapists and educational therapists to address the educational needs of children with dyslexia. DAS also pays attention to their social, psychological, emotional and even financial needs.

President Halimah first observed a session carried out by the DAS SpLD Assessment Services to evaluate a student’s cognitive, reading and writing ability and identify if the student has dyslexia and/or related learning differences. She then learned about how DAS supports students with dyslexia through its Main Literacy Programme (MLP) that is supported by the Ministry of Education as well as services that address other age groups, languages and academic subjects such as the DAS Preschool, Chinese and Maths programmes.

President Halimah also viewed an art display featuring the artworks of DAS students and was informed about how students with dyslexia have many talents that help them excel in many fields. She also found out that the DAS Academy, the training arm of DAS, provides a range of workshops and courses up to Masters level for parents and educators who support students with special educational needs.

The visit culminated in a live meeting between President Halimah and the recipients of the 2020 DAS Young Achiever Award (YAA) and Special Achievement Awards (SAA). This year’s YAA winner is Ho Wei Rui, an ex-DAS student who is being recognised for his remarkable academic accomplishments after leaving DAS. The 2020 SAAs go to Tan Jia Shyan Adelle and Keong Jin Xing Marques for displaying exceptionally high levels of determination and commitment to achieve all round excellence. These outstanding students will receive their awards during the DAS 2020 Student Graduation & Achievement Awards Ceremony on 28 November 2020.

“DAS is privileged to be a part of President’s Challenge 2020 and honoured to have President Halimah Yacob paying an official visit to one of our 14 learning centres. Her tremendous support has greatly encouraged us to continue on our mission to help people with dyslexia and other SpLDs achieve in their academic and life journey. With an inclusive community, supportive environment and good educational intervention, children with dyslexia can rise above their learning differences and contribute towards the society with their strengths and talents,” said Mr Lee Siang, CEO of DAS.

As one of the organisations selected to be supported by the President’s Challenge 2020, DAS will direct proceeds raised from the Challenge to the DAS Bursary Fund. Every year, DAS needs to raise more than $1 million to support DAS students requiring financial assistance to access psychological assessments and educational programmes including Preschool, Chinese, Maths, Science, Speech and Language Therapy, Speech and Drama and Arts. DAS is also planning to support post-secondary students.