How do you identify Dyslexia?
A parent could suspect Dyslexia if her child has three or more of these warning signs.
In addition, a child with Dyslexia puts in as much effort as other students in the class, has at least average intelligence, normal hearing and visual acuity but fails to do as well as his classmates.
When should you test?
Speak to an educational psychologist or a Dyslexia expert as soon as you suspect your child may have Dyslexia.
** Bring samples of his school-work, past report cards and exam papers to be analysed. Make your appointment only after you have gathered these materials. It will save you a lot of time and money.
How much should I pay for an assessment?
At Cognitive Connections, we try as much as possible not to administer more tests than necessary because in Singapore, children go through many weekly tests, term and semester exams. Hence we use dynamic evidence such as: –
- interviews with parents;
- previous assessments done by Educational Psychologists;
- report cards from preschool, kindergarten and primary school;
- current independently written school work;
- all previous exam papers by students; and
- we also email school teachers to get their views and observations of students in the class.
After the interview and error analysis, a summary of findings with long and short-term goals are written up for parents. The cost of this process could range from $300 – $600 depending on how long the interview is, how much analysis we have to make from the exam papers and other materials.
** We advise parents to keep all artwork, written work (which the child has done independently) and all past year exam papers.
Assessments by Educational Psychologists
Some parents may prefer a comprehensive assessment done by an Educational Psychologist that include IQ tests, reading, mathematics and social and behavioural tests. The breakdown costs could include observations in different environments, analysis of findings and more than 40 hours of writing up a report. These could cost from $1000 to more than $2500.
What if l have limited resources?
If you have limited resources in terms of time, finances and/or energy, and have to make a choice between intervention or assessments, spend your resources on intervention. Assessments are expensive and time-consuming. Some parents wait as long as 6 months for the results. All that time can be used to build skills your child needs for school.
The warning signs identified here gives you a good suspicion if your child has Dyslexia. If she has at least 3 of the signs, it is good enough reason to start intervention. The earlier she starts the sooner she will overcome her reading problems and enjoy school.
How early can Dyslexia be detected?
Identifying and accepting Dyslexia is the first step to finding a solution for your child. Identification or tests could start as early as 5 years old. Some parents who experienced academic problems in school start intervention as early as 5 years old for their own children to prevent the same stigma of school struggle and failure for their own children.
My child knows phonics. Why is he still struggling to read?
Phonics is taught at most kindergartens in Singapore. However, a child with Dyslexia lacks phonemic awareness, the missing piece of the puzzle of reading problems. Phonemic Awareness is the ability to break a word to its separate sound parts and blending, then substituting a sound, and blending them into a new word, are all part of Phonemic Awareness. This ability or skill can be built up and pathways created in the brain so that reading and spelling become easier and more logical. An effective and successful dyslexia programme is one by Orton-Gillingham.
Will my child with learning disabilities ever be successful?
It depends on the environment they grow up in and the family support they receive. In a success-only oriented place like Singapore, it may seem like there is no place for people with other talents which are not academic based and hence there’s no hope for those who do not do well in school.
In the span of a lifetime, the school years are only about 15 years if you do a basic degree. There are many opportunities to expand and bloom provided parents believe in their children and encourage activities like sports, art, cooking and music outside of school. There is a growing amount of evidence that children with Dyslexia are creative and people who have been successful personalities in the above industries who have come out to admit that they did not do well in school or they were diagnosed with some learning disability.
Bottom-line is, school is not the only place to learn. Reading Math and Science are not the only things you need to make a living. Allow your child to explore his passions but giving him space to grow and advocate for him in school. Even if children choose to do Foundation path in the PSLE, she would not be losing out on any daily life required knowledge in adult life. That is the beauty of the Singapore Education system it ensures that every student has a path of learning until they are able to fend for themselves, get a job. Not all countries have options outside of a university education.
Celebrities with learning disabilities:
Successful entrepreneurs with learning and attention issues: