Research Journal

APJDD Vol 5 No 2 (July 2018)

1.Editorial Comment

Angela J. Fawcett, Editor-in-Chief

2. Exploring the effectiveness of the English Examination Skills Programme on struggling non-dyslexic learners

Tuty Elfira Abdul Razak1, Emilyn See1, Joanne Tan Shi Huey1, Edmen Leong 1

  1. Dyslexia Association of Singapore


The effectiveness of sequential, cumulative and multisensory intervention programmes on learners with dyslexia has been proven in multiple academic literature. This study serves as a follow-up on previous research which explored the classroom practices of the English Exam Skills Programme (EESP). In comparison between students with dyslexia and a control group, the previous study found significant progress in their grammar, vocabulary and comprehension components of their English examination paper after intervention. Aligning with the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, the EESP is postulated to benefit all learners, including struggling learners with or without a diagnosis of SpLD or any learning difficulties, who are scoring below 65% in their school English Language examination papers. This study seeks to investigate the possible effectiveness of the EESP on a group of struggling non-dyslexic learners after a 20-week intervention. Results indicate a significant effect of intervention for this small group of non-dyslexic students.

Keywords:          English Exam Skills, structured intervention, dyslexia, struggling learners, Universal Design for Learning UDL

3. The Applicability and Limitations of the Pupil Rating Scale Revised-Screening for Learning Disabilities in Chinese Children

Jieping Ou1, Ami Sambai2, Hiroki Yoneda1, Hong Pei1, & Akira Uno1

  1. University of Tsukuba
  2. Osaka Kyoiku University


As more school learners face difficulties in learning Chinese and request for specific instructions increases, efficient assessment tools for these children are necessary. This study explores the applicability and limitations of the Pupil Rating Scale Revised-Screening for Learning Disabilities (PRS) for identifying children with learning problems. A total of 140 third-grade Chinese children from a primary school in Ningbo were tested for their reading and writing attainment, and teachers rated these children using a modified PRS. Of the participants, 18% were evaluated as having a low performance in reading and/or writing achievement tasks. However, according to the PRS’s diagnostic criteria, not one of these children was identified as having a learning disability based on teachers’ ratings. It is therefore hard to conclude that the PRS can be recommended for identifying children who are thought to have reading or writing deficits, or in other words, developmental dyslexia.

Keywords:          Learning Disabilities, the Pupil Rating Scale Revised (PRS), Applicability, Limitation

4. Working and Phonological memory in dyslexia and SLI children in Indonesia: preliminary studies

Rexsy Taruna1, Auliya Syaf1

  1. University of Abdurrab, Pekanbaru, Indonesia


This research aimed to identify the working and phonological memory profile and whether these differ in severity in dyslexic and SLI children who were identified with dyslexia in Indonesia. In experiment 1, the WISC subtest digit span had been administered to obtain information about phonological memory ability in every child. Both groups (SLI and DD+SLI) showed the same degree of severity in under average phonological memory, with a non-significant trend to greater deficit in SLI+ based on poorly developed specification. In experiment 2, the performance of children with SLI and dyslexia without co-morbidity was compared on tests of working memory and executive function.  Both groups showed significant impairment in both numbers forwards and reversed, but children with SLI were significantly worse on numbers reversed than the children with dyslexia, indicating a greater difficulty in planning and executive function in children with SLI.

Keywords:          Dyslexia, specific language impairment, phonological memory, executive function, WISC

5. The role of RAN and PA in predicting reading difficulties in multilingual population: evidence from Telugu native speakers

Suvarna Rekha Chinta1 and Bipin Indurkhya2

  1. International Institute of Information Technology – Hyderabad, India
  2. Jagiellonian University, Poland


This study addresses how one can screen reading difficulties in children with a multilingual background when there is no standardized tool for diagnosis in their native language. Rapid automatized naming (RAN) and Phoneme awareness (PA) are two widely applied tools for predicting reading difficulties. The role of PA in transparent languages and multilingual population is still a conundrum. We took a novel approach in developing RAN and PA in Telugu and tested them on the age-matched dyslexic and non-dyslexic groups. We analyzed our data with an independent sample t-test and found a high significance on RAN between the groups, but less significant difference in PA ability. These results demonstrate that RAN is a better predictor of reading difficulties in Telugu native speakers with a multilingual background.

Keywords :         attenuated processing, bilingualism , multilingualism, orthographic consistency, reading difficulties, transparent language

6. Exploring the effectiveness of the Family Literacy Programme with Singaporean preschool children at risk of literacy difficulties

Yiyao Weng1

  1. Dyslexia Association of Singapore


Early literacy lays the foundation for the acquisition of conventional literacy skills, with lack of adequate literacy skills profoundly impacting on later school success. Family Literacy Programmes (FLPs) are interventions that promote active participation among families to improve their child’s literacy. This research explored whether an FLP impacts on the early literacy achievement on Singaporean preschool children identified at risk of literacy difficulties.

Two research questions were investigated:

(a) Does FLP increase the early literacy attainment for preschool children, at risk of developing literacy difficulties, attending an existing literacy intervention programme? and

(b) What were parents’ perceptions of the effectiveness of FLP following workshops on early literacy?

Participants included 8 parents and 9 preschool children from 4 to 7 years old enrolled in the DAS Preschool Programme. Data sources for analysis included pre- and post-test scores before and after intervention, post-workshop questionnaires and interview data. The research concluded FLP did not significantly improve the early literacy achievement of this group of children, although there was clear evidence of the impact of the programme overall.  However, this masked differences between improvement on concepts of print for the experimental group, but only the controls for letter identification, key factors in early progress. Moreover, parents had a positive perception of the effectiveness of FLP, which provided skills and knowledge for parents to teach and guide their child in home-based literacy activities. Future research could look into the content and design of FLP in order to train parents more effectively, and provide literacy knowledge, skills and instructional strategies. In-depth and research-based evidence should be implemented to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of FLP.

Keywords:          early intervention, preschool, parents, family literacy programme

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

Patricia Mui Hoon Ng1

  1. Associate Fellow, Register of Educational Therapists (Asia)


With technological advancements, children today may learn in ways that can be radically different from how their parents did.  Considering the learning differences, the purpose of this review is to explore robot use for its potential benefits in educating today’s children who need to be learning differently from the generation before.  As children are growing up in an increasingly tech-savvy world, this review would serve to raise the awareness of robot applications developed for young children, so that more people can be sensitized to the adoption of robots for early childhood education.  The studies and reports included in this review are a selection of robot applications used with children in the general population of early childhood (0 – 8) years.  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.

Keywords:          Robot applications, young children, learning differently, general population.

8. Should ‘developmental dyslexia’ be understood as a disability or a difference?

Neil Alexander-Passe1, 2

  1. Head of Additional Educational Needs/SENCO, East Barnet School London
  2. Department of Social Sciences, University of Sunderland


This paper questions current views of the phenomena of ‘developmental dyslexia’, and offers a discussion of the various models of disability that are currently used in society, and whether they are suitable to use when discussing ‘dyslexia’: The Medical model, the Social model, the Affirmative Model, the Psych-Emotional model, the Psych-Social/Bio-Psycho-social model, the Social-Relational model are all discussed, each with their own perspectives.   Valeras‘s model (2010) is offered as an alternative to understand ‘hidden disabilities’ like dyslexia, diabetes and epilepsy etc. The term ‘bi-abilities’ is introduced to understand how such groups can have strengths in both the disabled and non-disabled worlds, and that such groups often reject any affinity with disability as they argue they are ‘able-bodied’. The paper then investigates how dyslexic individuals whilst experiencing trauma at school can also experience growth from such experiences, through a discussion of ‘Post-Traumatic Growth-PTG’ to understand positives coming from experienced trauma e.g. school-based trauma, arguing Valeras’s ‘bi-ability’ model to be more relevant to the dyslexic experience.  The paper concludes by applying the ‘bi-ability’ model to dyslexia. The main themes are:

  • Disability is a strong word – rejecting an infinity to a term that has negative public perceptions
  • I’m more than in the middle – falling in the middle of two identities but rejecting both
  • We don’t have a box – traditional social groups do not describe who they are
  • I didn’t want to be different – it wasn’t their choice to be born this way
  • Not even consciously. But it’s so hardwired – survival instincts naturally kick in
  • To Tell or not to tell, it’s the elephant in the room – the stress of not disclosing to others
  • It’s a piece of my identity, but it’s not my identity – being different is not all consuming

Keywords:          Dyslexia, Disability, Ability, Success, Post-Traumatic Growth, Bi-ability

9. UNITE SpLD CONFERENCE - Uniting Ideas in Teaching Excellence: Specific Learning Differences 2018

21 to 22 June 2018

Presentation and Poster Abstracts