The Complete Guide to Finding Help for Dyslexia in Singapore (2019)

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As a parent, it can be overwhelming to learn that your child has dyslexia.

“How can my child cope in school?”
“What can I do to help my child?”
“Will my child ever be normal?”
“Can dyslexia be cured?”

These questions and more will inevitably pop up, and yes, it will seem frustrating at first. You will likely not know much about dyslexia. Chances are, you will worry about your child’s ability to cope in school.

All these fears and concerns are perfectly rational. They are entirely understandable.

However, know this: neither you nor your child is alone in this journey. Your child can improve over time, and your child is most definitely normal. He/she simply deals with linguistics differently compared to neurotypical children.

That being said, it is still important to get a diagnosis for your child, as well as to seek out intervention.

Why intervention is important, and where you can go to get help

It may be tempting to shrug your shoulders and say, “Well given enough time, my child can overcome it.”

The problem is, not all dyslexics can overcome this learning difficulty by themselves. If a child can’t figure out where they’re going wrong, it will hurt their self-confidence. Worse still, they may just conclude that they’re stupid (when they’re actually not). Sending them for tuition also won’t help, and may instead make things worse!

This is why it’s important to get the right people to help. Thankfully, there are a number of places in Singapore that can do that!

The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS)

Dyslexia Association of Singapore DAS

The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) offers a range of services for students with dyslexia and language-related impairments. These include psychological assessments, educational therapy, and speech therapy, as well as classes for exam skills, Chinese language, math, and even speech and drama arts. Additionally, the Ministry of Education subsidises many of the DAS’s services, making them very affordable.

Swords & Stationery

Swords & Stationery Educational Therapy Specialist Tutoring

If you’ve searched for “dyslexia tutor singapore”, you would have realised just how many private intervention programmes there are in Singapore.

One of them… is Swords & Stationery.

What the Swords & Stationery programme does

Through S&S, most of my students have overcome dyslexia’s challenges. Today, many of them are doing really well in school. Some are even self-motivated to read and write on their own!

I started Swords & Stationery to help students do well academically while finding joy in learning the subject. It’s an effective and appealing approach that combines academics, games and digital presentations. It’s also very flexible, covering all subjects and topics that are English-based.

Reading comprehension? Check.

Narrative writing? Check.

Expository writing? Synthesis & Transformation? Grammar Cloze? History?

Check, check, check and check (AND we cover other Humanities subjects too, like Social Studies).

Through S&S, most of my students have overcome dyslexia’s challenges. Today, many of them are doing really well in school. Some are even self-motivated to read and write on their own!

Supporting parents and caregivers

I also believe in helping parents to support their children at home. Whether or not your child is a student of S&S, you’ll get access to helpful tips, strategies and resources on dyslexia. In fact, many resources were created and uploaded at the request of parents. Some of our more popular resources include:

Picture Matching for Basic Phonograms
Flash Cards for Basic Phonograms (a-z)
Sample Introductions for Primary School-Level Compositions

A large spectrum of affordable services

Finally, we’ve also partnered up with Trinity Consultancy & Practice, The Gifted Lab and freelance special needs tutors to provide the best and widest range of services, from psychological assessments to occupational therapy, at the most affordable rates.

Speaking of affordable, did I also mention consultation is free? As in, it costs next to nothing to drop us a message and ask for advice?

So, if you’d like to find out more about Swords & Stationery’s services…

Drop us a text message with no obligations, and we’ll get back to you within 3 working days. The journey isn’t easy, but you don’t have to take it alone.

Mind.Space

Mindspace Singapore

Mind.Space was established by Sharon and Serena, a speech therapist and a child psychologist respectively. Both have a combined experience of over 15 years working in the special educational needs industry.

Mind.Space comes highly recommended as I’ve worked closely with Sharon before. Thanks to her, many of my students have learned to overcome their speech impediments. She is also a trained counsellor who has helped many youths before.

Sharon and Serena are very warm people, so it’s worth dropping them a message even if it’s just for a simple question.

Extra•Ordinary People

ExtraOrdinary People

Extra•Ordinary People is a VWO with a focus on using performing arts to help children with learning difficulties like dyslexia. A number of its educational therapists used to be from the Dyslexia Association of Singapore. Additionally, it offers occupational therapy, speech therapy, and psychological assessment services.

Singapore Dyslexia Intervention Services

Singapore Dyslexia Intervention Services Christina Tan Davis Dyslexia

SDIS uses the Davis Dyslexia method to support struggling readers and writers. It was founded by Christina Tan, a trained Davis Dyslexia facilitator. Christina is also a parent of a child with dyslexia.

On another note, I had interviewed Christina a few years ago, before she had set up Singapore Dyslexia Intervention Services. We spoke at length about the journey she had undertaken to help her daughter, including the challenges she had faced. Check it out!

Other avenues of support

The dyslexic journey can be rough. Even with intervention, it can be overwhelming. Use the following as a guide, should you require further emotional support, knowledge and resources on dyslexia. Remember, you and your child are not alone!

Parent Support Groups

Parent-Support Groups (PSGs) are a great way to learn about dyslexia and how it can impact our children. They provide an avenue for mutual support, and for sharing personal experiences and resources.

Here is a list of the most notable PSGs in Singapore:

Remember, neither you nor your child is alone in this journey. There are communities out there that can help and guide you.

Books on dyslexia

There are many books out there that discuss dyslexia, and sometimes it can be hard to decide which to get. If you need ideas, have a look at these two book lists by the University of Michigan and Homeschooling With Dyslexia.

Need something more specific? From those two lists, The Dyslexic Advantage and The Fluent Reader often come highly recommended. The Dyslexic Advantage is well-known for providing fresh, scientific angles to look at dyslexia. The Fluent Reader provides solid strategies to help your child with his/her reading.

Outside of the lists, I would also highly recommend The Gift of Dyslexia and The Gift of Learning. Written by Ron Davis (creator of the Davis Dyslexia method), both are good reads and offer an interesting take on the dyslexia spectrum, as well as other learning difficulties such as ADHD and ASD.

Educational and assistive technology

mobile phone assistive technology educational technology

Thanks to educational technology, kids with dyslexia can be taught in ways that are fun, engaging, and effective. Nessy is one of the most popular companies that develops apps for such a purpose. These apps range from games that help dyslexics to learn the basics of phonics, to touch typing games, to professional development training modules.

One caveat of Nessy’s apps is that they’re quite expensive. If price is an issue, or if you’re just looking for a supplementary app, there are mobile games that can provide basic remediation for dyslexia. Some strong recommendations include:

Quizlet (iOS / Android)
Shake-a-Phrase (iOS / Android)
Sight Words Ninja (iOS)
World’s Worst Pet (iOS)

Games aside, you can also support your child’s learning through the use of assistive technology. Noodle.com has a great list of apps, including readers and note-taking software, to help your child with his/her schoolwork.

YouTube

While I’m sure many of you would turn to Google, YouTube also has a lot of wonderful videos that shed light on dyslexia’s different facets. One of my favourite videos is this:

Produced by the Dyslexia Association of Singapore, this video should resonate strongly with many parents of dyslexic children. In fact, you’ll find many more of such inspirational and informative videos on YouTube, including TEDx Talks and interviews with famous dyslexics like Jamie Oliver.

What else you need to know about getting help for a child with dyslexia

  • To get exam accommodations (such as extra time) for your child, you’ll need a valid psychological report. However, psychological reports are only valid for three years.
  • If your child is in primary school, you can directly arrange for a psychological assessment at KKH or NUH. For teenagers, you can arrange for a psychological assessment at The Gifted Lab, the Dyslexia Association of Singapore or James Cook University.
  • Getting specialist help is important. At the same time, you can still support your child at home by doing activities like paired reading.
  • Playing word-based board games like Codenames is also a great way to fuel your kids’ minds while bonding as a family.
  • Know that dyslexia is neither a disease nor “mental retardation”. Be patient with your child, even when they make mistakes. Remediation takes time.

Ending off with a few short stories

I had a student back in 2014 (whom I’d taught until 2018). She could not read two-syllable words like ‘revamp’ and ‘elect’, or she would simply take a long time to do so. In fact, there was a lot of reluctance to read. Today, she can read tough phrases like ‘a strong subscriber of religious doctrines’ and ‘morality and ethics are not independent of each other’.

Also, back in 2014, I had another student who was in the Normal Academic stream. She had struggled with dyslexia for most of her life, and had not done as well as she’d hoped for her PSLE. However, she was an ambitious young lady and had her sights set on doing the best she could. When she sat for her O Levels in 2015, not only did she qualify for some of the best JCs, but she also did better than most of her peers without dyslexia. In 2018, she was accepted into Nanyang Business School.

The moral of the two stories here? With hard work, perseverance, remediation, and support from friends and families, your child can most certainly overcome the challenges of dyslexia.

That’s what this guide is for. Help is everywhere. You and your child are not alone on this journey.

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Teacher Shaun

Teacher Shaun

...is a self-professed geek and lover of all things old-school. When he's not playing Fallout or Deus Ex for the nth time, he can be found sitting in front of his laptop hacking away at his keyboard, typing blog posts like this one. He also runs a little company called Swords & Stationery.
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2 thoughts on “The Complete Guide to Finding Help for Dyslexia in Singapore (2019)”

  1. Hi Shaun

    It’s a pleasure reading your post. Very encouraging and hopeful. I spoke with you on phone before, can feel your sincerity and heart going all out to listen and offer helps. Sadly, your p.1 Class is full. You have recommended Serena@mindspace to me. I have got in touch with her and has scheduled a session on 4 Nov. Nevertheless, I hope my little girl can join your class some day next time. She is a very cheerful girl yet facing lotsa challenges in learning. Struggling big time in Primary one now. She gotten zeros for all 3 subjects throughout school terms, very disheartening.
    Last but not least, I wonder if you may have any good OT to recommend us too. Cheers.

    Reply
    • Hi Mrs Gan, thanks for the kind words. It can be a tough journey, but don’t give up! It’s like what I always tell my students: the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t always visible, but it is there. You just have to keep forging on with your girl.

      Regarding occupational therapy, I will drop you Titus’s contact. He is a very experienced OT whom I work closely with.

      Cheers!

      Reply

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