Research Journal

APJDD Vol 6 No 2 (July 2019)

1. Editorial Comment

Editorial Comment Angela Fawcett – Editor in Chief

2. An Evaluation of the Preference-Based Teaching Approach for children with Dyslexia and Challenging Behaviours

Sharyfah Nur Fitriya1*

1. Dyslexia Association of Singapore


Dyslexia is characterised by difficulties inaccurate and/or fluent word recognition, reading comprehension, written expression, and poor spelling. Research studies have focused mainly on helping students diagnosed with dyslexia through educational remediation. Less research has been undertaken on increasing on-task behaviour and attentiveness while reducing behavioural problems for students diagnosed with dyslexia. This small-scale qualitative case study used a non-concurrent multiple baseline design across three participants and was conducted at DAS in Singapore between August 2016 and March 2017. The study examines the effectiveness of a preference-based teaching approach, based on identifying students preferences within the classroom setting and designing individual teaching programmes incorporating these preferences. An evaluation of the preference-based teaching approach was carried out through questionnaires and video observation of 15 teaching sessions. Analysis of the questionnaires revealed that the participants enjoyed the sessions and found the preference-based approach fulfilling. The video recorded sessions were analysed by the researcher and Inter-observer agreement (IOA) obtained.

The sessions revealed that all three students performed 100% on-task behaviours and active engagement from sessions eight to 12. The study concluded that the preference-based teaching approach had a major effect on the on-task behaviour and attentiveness level for all three students diagnosed with dyslexia. These findings can be used to improve teachers lesson planning skills with the aim to increase students’ on-task behaviour and active engagement levels.

Keywords: preference, on-task behaviour, attentiveness, active engagement, classroom setting, inter-observer agreement (IOA), attentiveness hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia.

3. Perspectives of Mainstream Students with Special Educational Needs on Inclusion

Siti Mariam Binte Daud1*

1. Dyslexia Association of Singapore


The increase in the number of students with special educational needs (SEN) studying in mainstream schools in Singapore has largely been influenced by international developments in inclusive education practices. This has led to strong advocacy towards the inclusion of these students in local mainstream schools. Despite increased support and resources to implement inclusion and inclusive education practices, there has not been a substantial investigation into how these practices are perceived by local students with SEN. This research project seeks to examine the perspectives of students with SEN on the inclusion and inclusive education practices in their regular mainstream schools and classes. An in-depth qualitative approach was used to generate data through questionnaires and semi-structured interviews with three students with SEN who were attending literacy intervention lessons in a local SEN organisation. A thematic analysis coding system was employed in analysing the transcribed data. Students’ perspectives were organized in the results according to a framework based on three guiding questions: (1) To what extent do students with SEN feel included (or excluded) in their schools and classrooms, i.e. during both academic and social situations?; and (2) What academic or social-emotional barriers do they face that may affect their perspectives of the inclusion or inclusive education practices in their mainstream schools and classrooms; and (3) How can these barriers be overcome? The findings indicate that students had both positive and negative perspectives on the following themes that emerged: Teachers’ attitudes, the school system, academic support, and peer support. Barriers related to the themes were also identified with recommendations as to how these can be overcome. These recommendations include a need to develop teachers’ attitudes further, to explore later school start times, to regulate homework assignment and to promote a culture of respect in the classroom. Future research could look at expanding the criteria and numbers of the sample group and supplementing questionnaires and semi-structured interviews with field observations.

Keywords: Inclusion; Inclusive practice; SEN

4. An exploration of the impact of picture books on students with dyslexia.

Tuty Elfira Abdul Razak1*

Dyslexia Association of Singapore


Learners with dyslexia struggle with reading and comprehension. Many literacy programmes that are developed to help students overcome dyslexia and its related learning difficulties focus largely on phonics instruction. This study is an attempt to elicit the impact of picture books on the comprehension, verbal expression and engagement in reading of students with dyslexia. Research on this study centred on observing a group of six students aged 10 and 11 years old as they demonstrated their comprehension through retelling skills, their verbal expression of thoughts and ideas and their engagement in reading using picture books. This study adapted the Philosophy for Children (P4C) approach developed by Matthew Lipman and his colleagues at the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children (IAPC). The P4C approach which places emphasis on questioning skills, engaging in meaningful dialogue and reasoning was incorporated into post-reading discussions facilitated by the literacy therapist. The main findings indicated that the use of picture books helped the students recall details and sequence of events in the books as seen in the way they referred to these aspects in the post-reading discussions. They were also able to infer and make connections based on their learned prior knowledge and personal experiences. This study shows that picture books can be an alternative teaching tool to enhance a dyslexic’s learning experience and that visual literacy can offer an instructional opportunity to be incorporated into the classroom.

Keywords:           dyslexia, picture books, visual literacy, comprehension, retelling, engagement, philosophy for children

5. Negotiating the Challenges of Social Work Training and Being Diagnosed With Dyslexia: A Narrative Account

Jonathan P. Beckett1*, and Jonathan Glazzard2*

1. Slinfold School, West Sussex, UK

2. Leeds Beckett University, UK


This paper explores the impact of having dyslexia, noting the features of the specific learning difficulty and how this affects aspects of Social Work training and practice. This research uses the life history method to explore some of the professional and personal challenges of managing a dyslexia diagnosis whilst training on a professional accredited university programme to become a Social Worker.

The correlation between dyslexia and mental ill-health is discussed as the participant explains the difficulties she had negotiating the academic demands of the course, alongside the challenges associated with completing a practical placement.

This significance of this work is the original qualitative perspective, and although based on a singular life narrative, it offers reflections for individuals and institutions beyond the singular case study to generalised practice. Moreover, significance explores the balance between accommodating those with dyslexia and maintaining professional standards as a way of ‘gatekeeping’ the profession.

Keywords:   Dyslexia, Depression, Narrative, Social Work Practice, Professional Standards.

6. Clinical Assessment of Phonological Awareness: Psychometric Properties

Rexsy Taruna1*, Auliya Syaf2*, and Fanshur Dhigfain2*

1.            Academy of Speech Therapy, Jakarta

2.            Faculty of Psychology, University of Abdurrab

3.            Indonesia Speech Therapist Association – Riau Region


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to identify psychometric properties (item difficulty, item discrimination, reliability, and construct validity) in the Clinical Assessment of Phonological Awareness (CAPA) for Standard Indonesian.

Method: Participants in this study were 106 children. All participants were assessed using the Clinical Assessment of Phonological Awareness (CAPA). The assessment was administered by the teachers who have been trained to administer CAPA.

Result: After completing item analysis, it was found that some items have a low discrimination index (<0.3), so these items must be eliminated. After the items are eliminated, syllable blending has four items, syllable segmentation has eight items, phoneme blending has eight items, and phoneme segmentation has six items. Then, each subtest has varying item difficulty, ranging from medium to difficult/hard. In the split-half reliability test, it was identified that all subtests in CAPA have a sound reliability coefficient of .80 – .97.

Conclusion: This study reveals that CAPA has good quality items and has a good level of reliability.

Keywords: phonological awareness, dyslexia, speech therapist, Indonesia, Norm-referenced test

7. ADHD: Current Research On the Contribution of Physical Exercise to Improvements in Cognitive Performance and Executive Functions (EF)

Mary Mountstephen1*,

1. University of Reading, United Kingdom


In this article, a commentary on the potential of physical exercise to ameliorate the deficits associated with ADHD is presented. The evidence suggests that this can be a useful tool for teachers in working with this group, and a range of alternative suggestions are presented. Implications for teaching generally are also considered.

Keywords:  ADHD, Exercise, Cognitive Performance, Executive Function

8. Teachers’ perceptions on the Explicit Teaching of Reading Comprehension to Learners with dyslexia: The Importance of Teacher Training in Ensuring Quality Delivery and Instruction

Serena Abdullah1* and Isabelle Shanti Benjamin1*

1. Dyslexia Association of Singapore

2. ELCOT Consultants


In response to ensuring that the reading comprehension curriculum continues to support students with varying learning needs, profiles and age groups, including secondary students, an enhanced reading comprehension curriculum was introduced and subsequently evaluated in a qualitative and quantitative study. In this paper, the philosophy and methodology of the curriculum is outlined. The authors highlight the explicit and concrete teaching techniques of some essential reading skills and textual features such as cohesive devices and vocabulary, to help students understand texts with greater depth and clarity. A key feature in the success of any new or enhanced curriculum is the perceived competence of teachers’ capacity to deliver it effectively. The teacher training provided to equip the teachers with the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver the enhanced reading comprehension curriculum will also be addressed. The following research questions are addressed: (1) investigating the effectiveness of the enhanced reading comprehension curriculum through teacher perceptions, (2) investigating the confidence of teachers in their delivery of the enhanced reading comprehension curriculum. The results yielded positive feedback and satisfaction with the enhanced reading comprehension curriculum and its potential in supporting learners with dyslexia although there is a need for further and ongoing training to ensure that teachers are comfortable and confident in delivering the more advanced reading comprehension skills.

Keywords: Explicit reading instruction, annotation, cohesive devices, referring expressions; conjunctions; motivation, vocabulary, metacognition, teacher training

9. UNITE SPLD 2019 Presentation Abstracts