“Straight ‘A’s” A DAS Success Story – Jamie Kok

As a teacher of dyslexic students, it is extremely rewarding and encouraging to witness your students doing well academically and blooming into someone of character and value. Today, we would like to celebrate the success of one such student – Jamie Kok.

Academic Excellence  Jamie strongly reminds us being dyslexic need not be a barrier to success. We are delightfully proud to announce that Jamie swept away A’s in all her ‘A’ level subjects last year, including the General Paper! Our heartfelt congratulations to Jamie!
Compassion  Jamie is a promising young lady of value who has compassion and love for the sick and the weak. This is evidently shown in her chosen field of academic pursuit. Armed with a scholarship by Ministry of Health (Holdings), she will be pursuing a Bachelor in Health Science and Master in Podiatric Practice in Australia for four years. Thumbs up, Jamie!
Attitude  Jamie has cemented her image as a highly- motivated young lady with steely determination who does not allow a scintilla of challenge to defeat her. Success does not come easy for Jamie. Her outstanding ‘A’ level is indeed a testimony to her sheer hard work and great perseverance in trying to overcome her learning difficulties. Jamie’s attitude in learning stands out a mile. She would vigorously take down every single word I said in class. When in doubt, she would not hesitate to ask and would faithfully apply what was being taught to her.
Gratitude  What impresses me most about Jamie is her magnitude of gratefulness. Upon receiving her ‘A’ level certificate from school, she immediately came to Bedok Learning Centre (DAS) to share her joy and express her heartfelt thanks to all the teachers.
Words of Encouragement Jamie, continue to widen your horizons and may you always feel the exhilaration of victory in every challenge! We would like to wish Jamie sweet success in all her future endeavours and we believe she will shine like a star in her own unique way.

My Successes and my Challenges By Kok Jian Min Jamie

Congratulations to Kok Jian Min Jamie, a former DAS student, for her outstanding ‘A’ levels results with straight ‘A’s’ in her subjects. Due to her wonderful results she has earned a scholarship to pursue her studies at an Australian university. Jamie shares with us some of her thoughts on her success as well as some encouragement to others like her.

I would like to share some of the solutions to the problems that I faced at school and hope that this will be beneficial for dyslexic kids just like me.

Firstly, there is a need for a good balance in your school life between academic studies and co- curricular activities (CCA). One must remember that academics must come first, CCA’s are still important to maintain a good balance in your life. Therefore, do not let your CCA override your studies but have a good sense of balance to learn how to manage your time effectively. Remember to complete your studies every day and revise often. You must be hardworking even if you don’t feel like it.

Secondly, it took longer for me to learn concepts than my peers. I overcame this by asking lots of questions in class, and to my friends, who were most helpful indeed. It is most important to ask the teacher for help in class or immediately after while the lesson is still fresh in your mind. If you leave these questions to later you will most probably have forgotten the concepts you needed to ask about.

I also found it beneficial to read up on lessons beforehand. I came to class prepared to identify certain areas of weakness so that I could focus my attention in lectures when these areas were covered.

Thirdly, I can get confused when having to speak in public or reading aloud. It was a major challenge for me in Junior College as we had a lot of project work to do. My pronunciation was marked down in presentations. To be frank, this is an area I am still practicing on and I ndo not have a perfect solution for this at the moment. Yet, through constant hard work and practicing my scripts, repeatedly, to people around me and then listening to their feedback, has helped me to remember what I have to say in presentations and this has improved my pronunciation. There is always a need for constant practice, so never give up!

DAS has helped me to be what I am today, for which I will be always grateful for! It has instilled in me the confidence for the English Language, pronunciation and writing.

Ms. Shenmee was always so encouraging of my ability and helped me to pursue excellence in my studies. Through her lessons, she has helped me to build up my character too. Thank you, Ms Shenmee!

Ms. Michelle, another DAS teacher at formerly at Bedok, also set high yet achievable standards for me to pursue with my studies, and for that I will always be grateful to her. The overall friendliness and helpfulness of DAS Bedok helped me to feel comfortable and at home in DAS.

In the past, I really struggled with my primary school subjects. My mum would tell you that I was simply bad in these areas:

  • Difficulty learning the alphabet, numbers
  • May have difficulty telling and/or retelling a story in the correct sequence
  • Often has difficulty separating sounds in words and blending sounds to make words
  • Unable to recall the right word
  • No idea of punctuation when reading or writing a story.
  • Attention problems – child appear to have a short attention span.
  • Daydreaming and switching off in class and at home.
  • Difficulty transferring ideas in their head into a written form in a clear and well organised way.
  • Confuses mathematical signs & symbols.
  • Difficulty in counting, playing sequencing and matching games.
  • Difficulty understanding the concept of time. They may forget their date of birth, their home address etc.
  • Short-term memory is poor. Difficulty remembering telephone numbers, lists of instructions and taking notes in lessons.

Yet, with a spirit that never gives up, healthy competition to do well, studying super hard (needed much more time to digest concepts), DAS lessons, teachers, fellow peers, I improved to be what I am today.

I remember that even simple encouragements like ”If you do 10 correct sums, mummy will play a UNO game with you” This was a great incentive to me as UNO was something I love to play and it was a good way to bond as a family too. Incentives like these can be the driving motivation for a child to study hard for simple short term goals, (being a child then, I was more interested in the present and not the future, which I think is true for most children today as well)

The parentt need to be with the child in all ways as a family whether it be physically, mentally and spiritually can help, especially in the primary to secondary school days. That is not to say that I advocate that there must be stay at home parents for both my parents work but rather, parents who can find balance in life and still take good care of us.

I know that I will always will have dyslexia, and I know that I will encounter new problems along the way. Yet, I will never give up and I will strive on in life, taking whatever life throws in my path! To all other people out there with dyslexia, never give up! To all educators and parents, well done and keep up the good work with more and greater love for children like us.

About the Author:
Shenmee Lau
Senior Educational Therapist
Bedok Learning Centre
Learn more about Shenmee

This article was first published in FACETS