APJDD Vol 8 No 1 (Jan 2021)

APJDD Vol 8 No 1 (Jan 2021)

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1. Editorial Comment

1. Editorial Comment

Angela J. Fawcett, Editor-in-Chief

 

It is a very great pleasure to publish this issue of the Asia Pacific Journal of Developmental Differences, now in its 8th year of publication, which is published by the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS). The response to the previous issues continues to be extremely gratifying, and we maintain these high standards in this issue and forthcoming issues. We are grateful for the support of the academics and professionals involved in resolving any issues arising, and ensuring our journal maintains high professional and ethical standards.

The seven articles featured in the current issue represent material drawn largely from Singapore, with contributions from as far afield as India and South Africa. We are particularly grateful to those contributors who have managed to revise their contributions despite the constraints of the current lockdowns internationally in response to the pandemic. Topics for the current issue cover a broad range, from articles on positive psychology to autism in twins, with the majority focusing on dyslexia across the age range, specifically in this issue addressing the voice of the participants.

The first article in this issue adopts a rigorous traditional experimental approach, with a study from the DAS team led here by Tuty Elfira Adbul Razak, evaluating the long-term impact of the Exam Skills programme on the achievement of the children involved, comparing outcomes for 96 children, who had participated from between 1 and 3 terms in this support. The results provided clear evidence that the most effective outcomes demand the longer period of registration and continuity of support with some exceptionally strong statistical findings for improvement in scores for English in line with those needed for Primary school-leaving examination for mainstream schools in Singapore.

The next article adopts a questionnaire approach, here working with parents of children in Singapore from the team at Care Corner, KidsBright, who have undertaken a mixed modality intervention based on movement, mental exercise and diet. The parents are united in advocating the strengths of this approach in improving many aspects of behaviour including attention and learning, and the authors suggest that this could be a useful adjunct to more traditional interventions in future studies. 

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2. Progress monitoring of dyslexic primary school learners enrolled in an English Exam Skills Programme

2. Progress monitoring of dyslexic primary school learners enrolled in an English Exam Skills Programme

Tuty Elfira Abdul Razak, Siti Asjamiah Asmuri, Andy Wang and Edmen Leong

Dyslexia Association of Singapore

Abstract

An English Exam Skills Programme (EESP) was designed and implemented in 2013 with the primary goal of helping primary school students with dyslexia achieve in their school and national examinations, as well as become proficient users of the English language in the long run. The programme was designed to cater to the English examination needs of learners with dyslexia in language and literacy components such as grammar, spelling rules, sentence synthesis and comprehension skills. Previous studies (Leong, 2015; Leong, Asjamiah and Wang, 2017; Razak, See, Tan and Leong, 2018) have demonstrated that the programme is effective in addressing the examination needs of this group of learners through an explicit and systematic teaching methodology. However, a significant limitation in earlier research conducted on the EESP, which was the duration of each study, called for further investigation into the retention of concepts taught in the programme and its impact on students’ performance and progress over time. To address this limitation, the performance of 96 primary school students, between Primary 5 to 6, who enrolled in the programme at different stages was examined using a two-way ANOVA. Progress of students who have been in the programme for 10 weeks was compared with students who have been in the programme for 20 weeks and 30 weeks.  Findings of this study suggest that a full impact of support for learners with dyslexia demands longer exposure to skills and concepts in order to consolidate their learning. The results also confirm that students achieved better scores on their termly review tests when they are enrolled in the EESP over a period of 30 weeks.

Keywords: progress monitoring, assessment, literacy and language intervention, effective instruction, self-regulated learning

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3. Effectiveness of a Multimodal Intervention using Movement, Mental Exercise and Dietary Approaches on Children with Specific Learning Difficulties

3. Effectiveness of a Multimodal Intervention using Movement, Mental Exercise and Dietary Approaches on Children with Specific Learning Difficulties

Isaac Tan Chiang Huan1*, Lim Zhong Hao2 and Joyce Ang Yan Ting2

  1. Care Corner Singapore Ltd
  2. National Council of Social Service

Abstract

Since 2006, Care Corner Educational Therapy Service has been running the KidsBright multimodal intervention programme for children aged 5 – 13 with specific learning difficulties and developmental delays. The programme is a novel integration of mental, movement, and dietary approaches, and is aimed at enhancing the neurodevelopmental, learning and academic abilities of children. In this study, the purported effectiveness and feasibility of the programme is examined through test-retest analysis of 368 parent-rated forms of their child’s ability level on ten outcomes over a six-month period in the programme – (i) Reading; (ii) Spelling; (iii) Handwriting; (iv) Verbal Skill; (v) Concentration; (vi) Ability to Sit Still; (vii) Memory; (viii) Motor Coordination; (ix) Social Interaction; (x) Mathematics. Findings indicated that there was indeed a significant improvement in the average ability level of children enrolled in the programme over time according to parental ratings. Subsequent analyses revealed that while parents’ facilitation of home-based movement exercises were associated with improvements in many ability domains, there were no improvements associated with the child’s consumption of fish oil supplements. The results also suggested that issues of service user attrition and their compliance to programme requirements may also need to be worked on in order for the programme to be more effective.

Keywords: KidsBright, Care Corner, National Council of Social Service, learning difficulties, SpLD, developmental delays, attention-deficit, ADHD, autism, ASD, dyslexia, intervention, movement, motor, mental, mathematics, numeracy, exercise, diet, nutrition, fish oil, parent, educational therapy, neurodevelopment

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4. The role of Mindfulness and Positive Psychology interventions in job crafting for educators: A diagnostic and prescriptive approach to supporting educators through Mindfulness and Positive Psychology during a crisis.

4. The role of Mindfulness and Positive Psychology interventions in job crafting for educators: A diagnostic and prescriptive approach to supporting educators through Mindfulness and Positive Psychology during a crisis.

Harsheeni H Rajoo1*

1. Dyslexia Association of Singapore

Abstract

Work is enormously important in our lives, not only because it takes up about half of our waking time, or provides us with a means of existence, but also because of the psychological impact that it has (Boniwell, 2011). As such, well-being at the workplace has become a primary feature in many organisations. The encouraging results from the growing body of research in Mindfulness and positive psychology have been pivotal in encouraging the DAS to enrich their approach towards wellness for Educators significantly, through CalmEd, a well-being initiative. A recent training for Educational Advisors inspired by Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBI) and positive psychology, saw the result of 57% who felt that they were starting to develop mindfulness practices more consistently and 43% found themselves to be reaching a good proficiency towards the end of 11 months of training.  Additionally, from the latest follow-up survey during the Co-Vid 19 pandemic, 100% were more aware of having to practice Mindfulness during a crisis, and 60% were able to practice composure during this time. The training intended to improve the responsibility towards the well-being of self, and innovatively improve their approach towards work through job crafting.

Keywords: Mindfulness, Positive Psychology, Job Crafting, Educational Therapists, Well-being

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