Reading and writing skills are often viewed as one of the first indicators of intelligence and future academic success. If your kid is not hitting reading and writing milestones, you may be worried that there’s something “wrong” with them! In a city that emphasizes education as much as Singapore, the pressure to achieve in expected ways can truly be overwhelming. However, rare are those who know that up to 10% of Singaporeans (and in fact between 4 and 10% of any population) have dyslexia – and that they can lead academically and otherwise successful lives with a bit of awareness and support that can turn their so-called disorder into a superpower!
Dyslexia, sometimes called a reading disorder, is a specific learning difference characterized by difficulties with learning to read or interpreting words and symbols, i.e. word recognition and spelling abilities. This neurological difference has no correlation with intelligence; in fact, dyslexic individuals have average or above-average IQs. But left undiagnosed, dyslexia can cause your kiddo to be perceived as lazy or fall behind in school, lead to frustration in both child and parent, low self-esteem, and potentially a whole range of other mental health issues. However, with support and/or intervention, those with dyslexia can thrive and unlock the full potential of their wonderful neurodivergent brains, maybe even lead exceptional lives – after all, dyslexia is linked to above-average creativity, and stronger causal reasoning and abstract, 4D thinking!
Though it can be mild enough for your child to get by with extra effort (which is more than reason enough for them to also get extra support!), some dyslexic individuals cannot overcome this learning difference by themselves. With the right methods, however, the sometimes really rough challenges dyslexia poses in mainstream settings can be overcome in both children and adults. Specialized programs, learning needs tutors and education, and speech and language therapy can all help while getting diagnosed can have a hugely positive impact itself!
Dyslexia Early Intervention, Assessments, Support In Singapore:
Kids with dyslexia can be completely equal participants in mainstream classrooms. Students formally diagnosed with dyslexia typically have an official psychological report with a 3-years validity that details their profile of learning needs and recommendations on strategies or support for learning. If the condition is severe, they may require access accommodations in school such as extra time on exams and time-based assignments. However, the schools listed below are particularly versed in the needs of neurodivergent students and could make their time in school more enjoyable than schools that focus more on competitiveness than inclusivity and collaboration (which is arguably true for students of all abilities anyway!).
The Winstedt School, winstedt.edu.sg
Integrated International School, iis.edu.sg
Dover Court International School, www.dovercourt.edu.sg
Bright Path Preschool, www.brightpath.com.sg
Singapore American School, www.sas.edu.sg
The GUILD International College, www.theguild.edu.sg
Wee Care, www.weecare.com.sg
If you are not dyslexic yourself (the condition may be genetic), and even if you are, it could be extremely challenging for you to put yourself in your kiddo's shoes. Though you may know that the situation is no one's fault, it can be hard to stay patient and provide the necessary understanding, leading to frustration and guilt. What can be healing beyond measure is a community of people in the same situation with whom you can exchange support, information, insight, and inspiration!
Staying in the know is crucial when it comes to neurological differences as science itself is in the process of expanding its understanding of neurodiversity. These resources, as well as those offered by the centers for assessment and intervention linked above, provide eye-opening, game-changing information.