Research Journal

APJDD Vol 8 No 2 (Jul 2021)

1. Editorial Comment

Angela J. Fawcett, Editor-in-Chief

It is a very great pleasure to publish this issue of the Asian Pacific Journal of Developmental Differences, now in its 8th year of publication, which is published by the Dyslexia Association of Singapore. 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.

In this issue, we highlight some of the issues arising from the COVID pandemic, which has impacted so severely worldwide, not just in terms of the mounting death toll, but also in terms of the many restrictions within our societies. This has meant that many children have been home schooled or have engaged in remote schooling.  In the first article in this issue, a case study analysis of the impact of Home-based learning on dyslexic children was undertaken, including children from primary and secondary schools in Singapore, by Tay Hui Yong and Siti Asjamiah bte Asmuri. The findings, on interviewing both children and their mothers, indicated that many dyslexic children struggled with the demands of typing for example, and with a system that necessarily had been set up at short notice without enough capacity to accommodate the needs of children with special needs. It is clear that key components here are the support of families in ensuring the ongoing emotional well-being of all children in these difficult circumstances. In the second article here, by Sui, with comprehensive analysis in a large-scale study examined the factors affecting parental efficacy, a key component of success for these children with a range of special needs. Although not addressed specifically to the pandemic, there are a number of clear lessons to be learnt. This article revealed that for this Hong Kong based study, the impact of ASD and ADHD was greater in terms of parental stress than other learning difficulties, with important factors including economic and environmental access to support. A need for more widespread social and community support was identified as a vital step forward to ensure more positive outcomes.

2. Dyslexic Children’s Experience of Home-Based Learning During School Closures: 4 Case Studies

Tay Hui Yong and Siti Asjamiah bte Asmuri

1. National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
2. Dyslexia Association of Singapore


During the coronavirus pandemic, schools across the world shut down and education was transferred online, with the education of half a million students in Singapore continued through “Home-based Learning” (HBL), delivered through online platforms, including the Student Learning Space (SLS), accessible to all schools. A system was developed to ensure that economically deprived families who lacked equipment could borrow this from school, and those with no internet connection at home could return to school to engage in online learning. By contrast, specialized support for children with special needs was not necessarily designed to address these needs. The impact of this on the potential 20,000 dyslexic learners in Singapore forms an important research area for further investigation. The current study gathered empirical evidence through one-to-one interviews of 4 students (2 from primary schools and 2 from secondary schools). Taking an ecological approach, the study also analysed the context of school, family and beyond. Hence, the study examined the participants’ lessons and assignments as well as interviewed their mothers in order to form a complementary picture to answer the research question on their experiences of learning during HBL. The interview data was transcribed verbatim and analysed together with the artefacts for emergent themes across the cases. Data analysis surfaced 3 themes: dyslexic-(un)friendly use of technology, feedback-focused pedagogy and social-emotional support. These findings will help guide professional development for teachers in mainstream classes who design e-learning experiences for inclusive classes with dyslexic students.

Keywords: Dyslexia, distance learning, online learning, school closure, inclusive classrooms

3. Factors influencing well-being and parenting self-efficacy of parents of children with special needs and the developmental outcomes of their children

Angela F. Y. Siu and Anna N. N. Hui

1. Chinese University of Hong Kong
2. City University of Hong Kong


Child characteristics and family demographics are important factors influencing the degree of parental well-being and parenting self-efficacy. Parents of children with special needs have reported more parental stress, depression, health problems, and poor parenting self-efficacy compared with parents of typically developing children. However, limited research has provided an overview of the effects of family demographics and child characteristics on parents’ well-being and parenting self-efficacy in Asian countries. This quantitative study examined the effects of children’s disabilities types and family demographics with well-being and parenting self-efficacy of parents (N = 420) of children with special needs aged ranged from 2.83 to 7.17. Family income, parental education level, work status, and parental age were found to be effective demographic variables predicting the well-being and parenting self-efficacy of parents of children with disabilities. Limitations and future research directions are presented.

Keywords: children with special needs, parents, well-being, parenting self-efficacy

4. Evaluating the longitudinal progress of a large sample of dyslexic children in reading, spelling and writing.

Sharyfah Nur Fitriya

1. Dyslexia Association of Singapore


The purpose of this research was to demonstrate whether the reading and writing skills of dyslexic students in the English Main Literacy intervention programme in Singapore could be improved in a statistically significant manner using improved curriculum teaching methods. A statistically significant result would validate the improvement in the transfer of knowledge to the students due to the educational intervention. This study evaluated the progress made from 1343 students aged 7-17 enrolled in the English Main Literacy intervention programme for six school terms from 2016 to 2018. All participants were assessed using a Curriculum-Based Assessment (CBA), which focuses on three test items: words to read, words to spell, and writing tests. The test items were analysed using the Central Limit Theorem (CLT) and hypothesis testing. Test scores were analysed comparing means across three years, with a Z-score calculated to determine the findings’ statistical significance. The mean scores of the students increased from an average mean of 48.54 in 2016 to 62.43. The calculated Z score of 1.65 yielded a probability of p<.05, with a probability level of 95%. Therefore, the Z score did indicate a significant improvement. This supported the research hypothesis that the literacy program demonstrates a statistically significant improvement in reading and writing scores in a population of dyslexic students. The findings from this research show that the English Main Literacy intervention programme is an evidence-based practice, and the results increase the validity of the intervention.

Keywords: assessment, statistical significance, dyslexia, Central Limit Theorem (CLT), hypothesis testing

5. Single Word Spelling in English as a Native and a Foreign Language in Students with and without Dyslexia

Marta Łockiewicz1, Martyna Jaskulska1 & Angela Fawcett2

1. University of Gdansk, Poland
2. Swansea University, Dept of Psychology, United Kingdom


The goal of our study was to examine the potential link between dyslexia and spelling difficulties in EFL (English as a Foreign Language), to identify and characterize a model of relations between Polish as a Native Language phonological awareness, rapid automatised naming, and verbal short-term memory, and spelling in EFL, and to compare these relationships with analogical ones for English as a Native Language. Our participants included junior high school students: thirteen with dyslexia, 15 without dyslexia from England, and 16 with dyslexia and 16 without dyslexia from Poland.

We found that in an English single word spelling task Polish students with and without dyslexia made more phonological errors than English students with and without dyslexia, and more orthographic errors than English students without dyslexia. Polish students with dyslexia made more orthographic errors than English students with dyslexia, but Polish students without dyslexia performed on a level with English students with dyslexia. The behavioural symptoms of phonological deficits in students with dyslexia were more conspicuous in English than in Polish.
In our study, orthographic errors were more frequent than phonological errors in the English group; opposite proportion occurred in the Polish group. This suggests that Polish students employed an earlier spelling strategy, more based on sublexical than lexical knowledge and skills, and more frequently misspelt the words practically beyond recognition.

Keywords: spelling; Polish; phonological processing, orthographic errors, phonological errors

6. Cognitive Information Processing and Environmental Factors in Hiragana Reading/Writing of Down syndrome Children- Compared to typically developing Children

Mariko Maeda1*, Manami Koizumi1, Kaori Hosokawa2 and Michio Kojima3

1. Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba
2. Faculty of Education, Chiba University
3. Faculty of Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba


Introduction: Factors related to reading/writing skills of children with DS were investigated by focusing on their cognitive information processing abilities and environmental factors.

Methods: Participants were children with DS (N=30), typically developing (TD) children N=59. Hiragana reading/writing tasks and cognitive processing ability tasks were performed. Moreover, a questionnaire was administered to their parents to investigate the children’s profiles and environmental factors.

Results: Reading/writing scores of children with DS with a mental age (MA) of 4, 5, and 6 years and TD children with a chronological age of 4, 5, and 6 years were compared to identify the types of characteristics in which children with DS score higher than TD children. We showed the difference in environmental factors related to cognitive information processing ability and reading/writing ability of DS and TD children.

Conclusion Factors related to reading/writing of children with DS were also shown.

Keywords: Down syndrome, Hiragana, Reading and Writing skill

7. Concrete-Representational-Abstract and Multisensory Strategies: An Inclusive Approach to Mathematics

Rameeza Khan1* and Masarrat Khan2

1. B. A. F. Petit Girls’ High School, Mumbai, India
2. Maharashtra Dyslexia Association, India


Maths is an area of processing which many students in school continue to struggle with, whether or not they have learning difficulties of any kind. In this article, the authors review the usefulness of an inclusive approach to Maths using the CRA, Concrete-Representational-Abstract, which builds on multisensory approach suitable for all learners. Outlining the Piagetian principles first underlying learning, the authors demonstrate in practical terms how this system is ideally delivered, providing supportive evidence for the impact of the approach in students with learning difficulties. The role of the skilled teacher in ensuring this is delivered effectively joining together the 3 sections explicitly to aid understanding, is emphasized here.

Keywords: Concrete-Representational-Abstract (CRA), Maths, Learning difficulties

8. An Instrumental Single Case Study: The development of a Multi-Dimensional Interactive Model that Illustrates Barriers faced by a man with Developmental Dyslexia

Lynn C. Holmes, Jean V. Fourie, Martyn P. Van Der Merwe, Alban Burke and Elzette Fritz

1. University of Johannesburg, South Africa


The variety of difficulties that individuals with developmental dyslexia face makes it challenging to diagnose, to develop appropriate intervention strategies, and teach coping and learning skills. An instrumental single case study was used to explore the experiences of a young man who had been formally diagnosed with severe developmental dyslexia. The various barriers he faced because of having developmental dyslexia were examined. A multi-dimensional interactive model was developed from the results of the study, as well as from cases of people with developmental dyslexia diagnosed before and after this case study was conducted. This multi-dimensional interactive model illustrates the five primary barriers or factors, which a person with developmental dyslexia may have to deal with on a daily basis, and thus have to compensate for, in order to pass secondary school. All five factors form a continual flow or interplay between one another. This means that there is a constant influence of one or more factors on another. The model assists to illustrate the complexity of developmental dyslexia and the difficulty in diagnosing and treating the disorder, as each individual presents with a different set of difficulties or factors. This multi-dimensional model includes: the neurological factors, the intrapersonal factors, the interpersonal factors, the behavioral factors, as well as the emotional factors.

Keywords: Developmental dyslexia, brain-based disorder, barriers to learning, compensatory skills, multi-dimensional interactive model, instrumental case study.
Asia Pacific Journal of Developmental Differences

(Jean V Fourie:

9. UNITE SpLD 2021 - Presentation Abstracts


Uniting Ideas in Teaching Excellence: Specific Learning Differences 2021 24 to 25 June 2021 ONLINE WEBINAR

The UNITE SpLD Conference seeks to bring together parents, teachers and practitioners working with children with specific learning difficulties and special educational needs. This conference will be showcasing research that covers aspects of behavioural, literacy and social-emotional support, intervention and assessment for children with special learning needs. Come and listen to our SpLD experts share their research. Research will be presented in short, engaging and entertaining sessions accompanied by poster presentations and the chance to talk directly with researchers who are making a difference in the Asian region.