Collaboration will provide cohesive, comprehensive and collaborative support for dyslexic learners in Institutes of Higher Learning
The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) today launched the Lim Hoon Foundation – DAS 360° Pact to raise awareness and provide pivotal support for students with dyslexia and other co-occurring learning difficulties in Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs). As individuals with dyslexia process information and learn differently, the programme aims to augment traditional support structures in IHLs to maximise chances for academic and non-academic success.
As part of this collaboration, Lim Hoon Foundation (LHF) – the philanthropic arm of JL Family Office – has committed $280,100 to fund the implementation of various programmes for three years from 2021 to 2024. The sum would benefit about 100 students with dyslexia from low-income families and also fund local research such as conducting a local study looking into the prevalence rate of dyslexia in Singapore and how to support post-secondary students with dyslexia.
Mr. Andy Lim, Director of LHF presented the cheque to Mr. Eric Lee, President of DAS at the DAS Academy at the REX House Learning Centre this morning.
This launch marks a significant milestone in efforts to move support for learning differences beyond pre-school, primary and secondary school students to post-secondary students. Over the years, support for young learners with dyslexia has become apparent and available in Singapore’s educational system, with DAS delivering a broad range of programmes and services including the Main Literacy Programme (MLP), implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MOE). However, the provision of assessments and interventional support has not been emphasised by DAS to post-secondary students.
According to international statistics, an estimated 10 per cent of a population have dyslexia and four per cent have dyslexia severe enough to warrant intervention. This means that more than 10,000 IHL students in Singapore could benefit from more tailored, interventional support to manage their rigorous academic and non-academic demands. While a comparable study is not available in Singapore, a UK research has estimated that four per cent of students enrolled at all higher educational levels, including undergraduate and postgraduate, had Specific Learning Differences (SpLDs) in the 2011–2012 academic school year.1 Dyslexia is normally the most prevalent SpLD.
Furthermore, the number of students from low-income households progressing to post-secondary education has notably increased in Singapore, from 5 in 10 students in 2002 to 9 in 10 students in 2018. This indicates a growing number of post-secondary students requiring financial assistance to access interventional support services.
In 2018, DAS piloted iStudySmart™ (iSS) – a programme specifically catering to the needs of post-secondary students with dyslexia, aiming to empower them with skills in time management, organisation, tertiary writing and presentation that are emphasised in IHLs. Building on the success of this trial, DAS is moving on to widen the impact of its efforts through the 360° Pact.
The 360° Pact: an all-embracing initiative Aimed at providing a comprehensive, cohesive and collaborative network of support for dyslexic learners in IHLs, the 360° Pact comprises the following pillars: A dyslexia awareness campaign targeted at IHLs, built upon the ongoing ‘Embrace Dyslexia’ campaign Providing continuity of support for students from low-income households entering IHLs by making screening, assessments and interventional services accessible to them. This includes encouraging graduating MLP students to transition into iSS or to take on individual intervention if they require intensive support. Over the three-year agreement period, the 360° Pact aims to fund the delivery of the iSS programme and bursaries for about 100 students Developing a community of practice by establishing like-minded partnership with IHLs including introducing capability-building initiatives for their staff Establishing and publishing local research data including conducting a local interventional study to further enhance iSS Usage of feedback from IHLs and data from the interventional study to pave the way for an integrated support system within IHLs for post-secondary students with dyslexia “While a person does not outgrow dyslexia, with timely and effective intervention, they can be put on the best path to achieve success on their learning journey. DAS is greatly appreciative of Lim Hoon Foundation’s philanthropic act to promote academic achievements and open up future opportunities for students with dyslexia. We hope that this 360° Pact will spur more efforts to fill a critical gap in the learning journey of students with learning differences in Singapore,” said Mr. Lee Siang, CEO of DAS.
“This collaboration with DAS is personally very meaningful to me. I’ve always found spelling and phonetics challenging, and it was only this year that I was officially diagnosed with mild dyslexia. While what I experienced was not debilitating, I know there are others who had a tougher time than I did. I feel privileged that LHF is able to commit funds that will go towards helping students with dyslexia. I look forward to DAS publishing local data on dyslexia that will, hopefully, go a long way in informing how this condition can be better addressed in our country,” said Mr. Andy Lim, Director of LHF who also shared his personal journey with dyslexia during the launch.
At today’s event, a former iSS student, Maxx Ng also shared his experience with dyslexia and how iSS has helped him in his learning in IHL. Maxx is currently studying Community Care and Social Services at ITE College East and pursuing his interests in the school’s Speaker’s Society, Entrepreneurship Club and Drama Club.
“The skills I have gained from iSS have been extremely useful for me. In higher education, we undertake more project work which includes the need to produce reports and presentations. iSS has given me the skills to excel in this as well as the confidence to present in front of an audience. It has also helped me to be organised and plan well to meet my coursework deadlines. I do not think I will be as successful as I am now without the skills that I have learned from ISS,” said Maxx.
Please go to http://bit.ly/LHFDAS360 for speech by DAS President, event programme and presentation slides. Images and recordings from the event will also be uploaded onto this link after the event.
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