The slim little girl who would sit quietly while waiting for her class is the image that first comes to my mind when I think about Eleanor. Her petite frame certainly does not reflect her never-give-up attitude.
Eleanor has come a long way from where she began. Her journey at DAS began at Primary 1. Then, her reading age and spelling age were both less than a 6 year olds. In that year, Eleanor was scoring 19% for English, 23% for Chinese and 16% for Math in school. Her parents have described that Eleanor faced tremendous difficulties in her studies at Primary 1. This did not deter her from working harder. Her scores improved drastically and her English score at Primary 2 was 40%. To recognise her efforts, Yumin Primary awarded her the Best in Progress Award at P2 level. Her latest results last year showed that Eleanor has scored 41% for English as an overall grade, 55% for Chinese and 27% for Math. This has led her to receive her second Best in Progress Award in school at P4 level!
Even as a person with weaker reading and spelling skills, Eleanor has developed the skills to decode and form an interest in reading. From her DAS educational therapist before me, Ms Aishah Said, till now, Eleanor has been regularly borrowing books from the centre. Her keenness towards reading is exemplary, as she has progressed from reading the Oxford Reading Tree (ORT) books of earlier levels to currently reading ORT books at level 10. Being an avid reader has both reinforced and improved her reading skills.
According to her mother, Mdm Christine Ho,
Before joining DAS, Eleanor could not even hold a normal conversation with people. When you spoke to her, she would just stare at you or repeat after you the last few words of what you said. After joining DAS, to my pleasure, she has picked up reading and conversational skills, and her spelling has improved tremendously. I would like to thank the effort of all the teachers who have made a difference in the life of Eleanor.
Other than in English, Eleanor displays a very good attitude of not giving up easily in Chinese too. During the mid-year parents-teacher conference last year, Mdm Ho spoke about Eleanor translating all the characters into Hanyu Pinyin in a class exercise in which they had to share ideas on what they have read. Her Chinese teacher was impressed with her effort in doing so.
As of Term 1 this year, Eleanor is studying at our Tampines learning centre (TPN), which is closer to her home. Her educational therapist, Ms Julia said that Eleanor is settling well with her and the peers in her class. During breaks, Eleanor plays with them and is slowly opening up. She is also eager to share her thoughts and makes an effort to interact with her peers.
According to Ms Julia,
Eleanor is a conscientious student who takes her work seriously. Eleanor remains focused and attempts to spell her words repeatedly without any sign of frustration or “giving up” attitudes. She has shared that her school teacher had recently singled her out for her tireless efforts to try and work hard. Eleanor is encouraging and even reminds her peer that you, “..must try again and again and you can do it!
Having dyslexia and having been failing her subjects, it is encouraging to know that Eleanor has a positive outlook in life. She is always doing her best even for non-academic lessons like ballet. Eleanor is taking ballet lessons and is very keen on it. To add to that, Eleanor has also taken part in singing for the Best Achievement Award programme for the school.
Eleanor is an example of someone who is positive in spite of the difficulties she faces in school. We share her story in the hope that it will be a motivating factor for other students with dyslexia. I wish Eleanor all the best and let’s strive towards passing English! And to all the students with dyslexia, Eleanor’s parents would like to tell you,
Continue to press on and don’t give up. The sky’s the limit!
About the Author:
Nur Alia Bte Salim
Senior Educational Therapist
Bedok Learning Centre
Learn more about Alia